Anthony Joshua faces Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday in Jeddah looking to win back the world heavyweight titles he lost at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September. AJ will hope to repeat his trick after achieving redemption against Andy Ruiz in a rematch in Saudi Arabia, with the possibility for the winner to become undisputed champion in the next fight, although Tyson Fury’s most recent retirement clouds the future of the division.
There has been discussion surrounding Joshua’s future if he suffers a second defeat in a row against the mesmerising and outrageously skilful Usyk, with Johnny Nelson and Carl Froch casting doubt on a return if it is to be a repeat on Saturday. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is eyeing up round six as pivotal to the fight, but also maintains the 32-year-old would need to be patient for another shot at the title if he loses again: “He loves what he does, AJ loves to fight. He loves boxing. It will be difficult to get a shot at the world heavyweight title. But why would you even consider retiring from the sport if you lose to the pound-for-pound number one? Unless you just didn’t want to do it anymore.”
The rivals meet face to face at the final press conference in Jeddah this afternoon, where the final trash talk will be said ahead of Friday’s weigh-in, which serves merely as theatre in the heavyweight division of course. Joshua can expect a heavier Usyk though, with the Ukrainian growing into the division after recently jumping up from cruiserweight. Follow live updates, quotes and analysis from today’s press conference below:
Usyk vs Joshua 2 press conference
Usyk vs Joshua 2 undercard
The Independent’s pound-for-pound boxing rankings
12:50 , Jack Rathborn
The boxing landscape is arguably as intriguing as it has ever been.
The past few years have seen heavyweight epics for the ages between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, they have seen Saul “Canelo” Alvarez establish himself as the face of the sport in the eyes of many fans, and they have seen frequent displays of technical brilliance from champions in lighter weight classes.
There have been upsets, title unifications, and there has been no shortage of drama – Anthony Joshua’s defeats by Andy Ruiz Jr and Oleksandr Usyk standing out as prime examples.
All of these fights and results have factored into The Independent’s own top 10, pound-for-pound rankings for men’s boxers, to be updated monthly.
While there is no exact science to putting together lists such as this, a number of factors have been considered in making the rankings, including each fighter’s overall record, recent record, level of activity and calibre of opposition.
Usyk vs Joshua 2: Main event and full undercard
12:40 , Jack Rathborn
Oleksandr Usyk (C) vs Anthony Joshua (heavyweight)
Filip Hrgovic vs Zhilei Zhang (heavyweight)
Callum Smith vs Mathieu Bauderlique (light-heavyweight)
Ramla Ali vs Crystal Garcia Nova (women’s super-bantamweight)
Badou Jack vs Richard Rivera (cruiserweight)
Andrew Tabiti vs Tyrone Spong (heavyweight)
Daniel Lapinvs Jozef Jurko (light-heavyweight)
Ziyad Almaayouf vs Jose Alatorre (super-lightweight)
Joshua vs Usyk prize money: What is fight purse for heavyweight title rematch?
12:40 , Jack Rathborn
The pair’s rematch comes 11 months after their initial clash, which saw Usyk comprehensively outpoint Joshua in the Briton’s own backyard, taking the belts from “AJ” at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
Now Joshua, 32, will seek to regain the titles for the second time in his career as he faces the unbeaten Ukrainian in Jeddah. In 2019, Joshua lost the belts to Andy Ruiz Jr at New York City’s Madison Square Garden with a stoppage defeat, before avenging that result with a decision win against the Mexican-American in Saudi Arabia at the end of that year.
Can Joshua replicate that feat by handing Usyk, 35, the first loss of the southpaw’s professional career?