The heavyweight division is traditionally pro-boxing’s most glamorous.
Through the years, it has spawned some of the biggest legends in the sport—from halcyon days of greats like Jack Dempsey, Rocky Marciano to Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, the Klitschko brothers Vitali and Wladimir—to today’s current crop of champions led by Anthony Joshua.
Today, Joshua faces Oleksander Usyk of Ukraine, a skilled workhorse of a fighter who fights behind a southpaw stance.
JOSHUA. A true monster standing at 6’6” and weighing usually anywhere between 240 to 250lbs for his fights, Joshua is as formidable as they get.
He packs a lot of power in those fists, and his record which stands at 24-1, 22 KOs is quite emblematic of the torque he is able to generate when he lands.
His weakness is that he can be quite mechanical in his movements. Because of his massive size and bulk, sometimes his movements appear cumbersome and his opponents are able to beat him to the punch.
That flaw, Andy Ruiz was able to capitulate as he handed Joshua his only loss, a stoppage at that—which so far is the only blemish on his otherwise outstanding record.
Joshua to his credit was able to redeem himself as he defeated Ruiz soundly in their rematch, but his detractors insist he is quite beatable, as long as an opponent comes in with a sound strategy and implements it well.
That’s easier said than done of course, but Usyk would beg to disagree.
USYK. The undefeated Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) comes in a few inches shorter in stature to Joshua and obviously is the smaller man coming in, but isn’t deterred by the size disparity.
Blessed with a style that borders on craftiness and guile, Usyk is notoriously hard to hit and his stoppage wins have often come from wearing out opponents, thereby rendering them inevitably defenseless to his attacks.
He shares the same birthday as Ali and also won an Olympic gold medal in 2012, the same year as Joshua, albeit at a lower weight class.
This will truly be a compelling clash of styles and it will be interesting to find out who can impose his will and gameplan on his opponent.
MY TAKE. Uysk’s best wins came against Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora who are nowhere near Joshua’s level. This is not to say that this will be a lopsided match.
On the contrary, I think Usyk will be difficult to figure out, but Joshua might just be too big and too strong for Usyk to overcome.
It will be a good intriguing and entertaining matchup, but Joshua’s size and experience will carry him through to a unanimous decision victory.
LAST ROUND. It’s on my daughter Julia, as her first single “Tug of War” under 22 Tango Records was released this week. Cheers, Ate!