From the standpoint of Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs), a 34-year-old native of Ukraine and, like Joshua, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, the strategy appears to be very much calculated. Dressed in a suit from the Joker’s closet of “Batman” fame during Thursday’s press conference, Usyk perfectly embodied physically what goes on inside of his genius and very maniacal mind.
The 6-foot-3 southpaw, known for his dry comedic style, has chosen not to show his cards ahead of the fight. All of his interviews have been short and awkward, in fact, especially when asked how he will overcome the size difference of three inches in height, four inches in reach and 18.5 in pounds after Joshua weighed in at 240 on Friday.
Elsewhere on this loaded up card featuring many of the top names in England, the WBO cruiserweight champion is back in action. Lawrence Okolie will look to defend his crown when he faces off with Dilan Prasovic in the co-main event. Okolie has proven to be one of the top rising fighters in England with 13 knockouts in 16 pro fights. He’s coming off a devastating knockout of Krzysztof Głowacki in March and has not seen judges’ scorecards since September 2018. Plus, former WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith returns to the ring for the first time since dropping the belt when he faces off with Lenin Castillo.
AJ is returning to the ring this weekend for the first time since December, when he successfully retained the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts he claimed back from Andy Ruiz Jr with a patient ninth-round stoppage of IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev in front of a limited crowd of 1,000 fans at the SSE Arena, Wembley.
Now more than 60,000 spectators will be present in north London for the first boxing bout at Spurs’ plush £1billion home, with Joshua facing his WBO mandatory after a pair of blockbuster, lucrative all-British unifications showdowns with Tyson Fury were placed on the backburner after an arbitration hearing ruled that the WBC champion must face Deontay Wilder for a third time, with that trilogy fight taking place in Las Vegas on October 9.
Joshua will be focussed on avoiding any slip-ups here to retain his titles and stay on track for that mammoth Fury double-header, with undefeated southpaw Usyk a very skilled, tricky and accomplished opponent whom his fellow London 2012 gold medallist expects to provide his biggest challenge since another Ukrainian, Wladimir Klitschko, in that unforgettable 11-round classic four years ago.
Usyk, 34, is a former undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world who made the move up to heavyweight after stopping Tony Bellew in 2018, halting late replacement opponent Chazz Witherspoon in seven rounds in October 2019 before outpointing Derek Chisora in his only other heavyweight clash to date in London last autumn.
Anthony Joshua faces Oleksandr Usyk today, putting the WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles on the line at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, streaming live on DAZN in most areas and airing on Sky Box Office in the United Kingdom.
The main card starts at 1 pm ET, with the main event ring walks coming no earlier than 5 pm ET, or 10 pm UK time.