Joshua vs Usyk odds: "Other" heavyweight title fight may deliver biggest surprises
Last May's unofficial, official announcement for the heavyweight title unification fight between WBC Champion Tyson Fury and WBA/IBF/WBO Champion Anthony Joshua exhilarated the fight world until it was rescinded, thanks to a judge's ruling.
Joshua vs Fury would have been one of the most anticipated boxing matches ever and its likelihood will remain in limbo for a few more months.
Hence, because a judge ruled Fury was contractually obligated to face Deontay Wilder again prior to fighting other opponents, Fury vs Wilder 3 will take place June 24. Meanwhile, Joshua is forced to defend his titles against the dangerous but unassuming Oleksandr Usyk, his WBO mandatory opponent, on September 25.
Joshua vs Usyk
12 rounds, for Joshua's WBA/WBC/WBO heavyweight titles
Sep 25, 2021
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, North London, England
Finally, the top four heavyweights are fighting each other in a tournament-like fashion.
However, one wouldn't realize it based on the contrasting level of buzz for those bouts.
Not surprisingly, Fury vs Wilder 3, the fight featuring the more charismatic, more loquacious combatants, is getting all of the attention. Nevertheless, the other heavyweight title fight between Joshua and Usyk is every bit as intriguing.
For casual fans not familiar with Usyk, he's in the same league with Joshua, Wilder, and Fury.
He's also a former undisputed cruiserweight champion with fine speed and loads of skill and is a worthy threat to derail an immediate Joshua vs Fury showdown.
Nonetheless, the champion is still a solid favorite but the betting line doesn't represent the stern challenge awaiting Joshua.
Joshua vs Usyk odds (as of Jul 6):
In the above case, a successful $100 bet on Joshua would net $30.03. The same successful wager on the challenger, Usyk, would net $225. A draw at the aforementioned amount would net $2200
In the above, a more Usyk-friendly scenario, a successful $100 bet on Joshua would net $44.44. The same successful wager on the challenger, Usyk, would net $175. A draw at the aforementioned amount would net $1800.
Today's betting is closer than was the case in February 2019. Back, and according to SportBible, Joshua was a solid 1/4 favorite while Usyk sat at 11/4. Odds of a draw were 25/1.
SportBible also created a Joshua vs Usyk poll on Twitter and, after 26,000 votes, 81 percent of fans tabbed the Brit, Joshua, to win. Today, however, voting would likely be tighter.
"I have full confidence in Tyson’s ability to do a job on Wilder again but I’m less sure that AJ can overcome the obstacle in front of him," famed promoter Frank Warren recently said via BoxingScene.
"Usyk conquered the world at cruiserweight, unifying all the belts, and since moving up to heavyweight has remained unbeaten."
"I know another big heavyweight who will be keeping a close eye on that clash – ‘Juggernaut’ Joe Joyce. He fights Carlos Takam at The SSE Arena, Wembley, on July 24, and should he win, he’ll be installed as the mandatory challenger for the winner of Joshua-Usyk."
Usyk's high boxing IQ in and out of the ring is one element that makes him so special. For instance, for the February 2019 heavyweight title superfight rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, Usyk saw something most of us didn't. Prior to that bout, Usyk told Ren TV he'd picked Fury in Wilder vs Fury 1 and suggested he was even more bullish on the 6'9" Brit the second time around.
Following their controversial draw in December 2018, a bout most seemed to have thought Fury deserved to win, the Brit took the fight to Wilder and registered a 7th Round stoppage. He beat Deontay on the inside, at mid-range, and on the outside and ultimately bullied the champ for seven rounds.
... And Usyk seemed to have predicted that outcome because he well understands boxing strategy and its core rule - hit and don't be hit.
Even quicker than the usual elite-level heavyweight, Usyk, a slick southpaw and 2012 Heavyweight gold medalist for Ukraine at the Olympics London, England, is a master of distance and timing well and will look to set traps for Joshua, also a former Olympic gold medalist.
- FightSaga fact: Usyk has a record of 5-0 (2 KO) against former or current world champions: He's beaten Krzysztof Glowacki, Marco Huck, Mairis Briedis, Murat Gassiev, and Tony Bellew.
Look for AJ, the deserved favorite, to use his height and reach advantage to keep Usyk outside and attempt to outbox the Ukrainian from long range a la Joshua vs Andy Ruiz 2.
Joshua vs Usyk is an intriguing match-up between extraordinarily gifted pugilists at the highest level of heavyweight boxing. And regardless of the level of fanfare it receives, it's easily one of the biggest, most significant heavyweight fights in the last 40 years.
Please share your thoughts on the Joshua vs Usyk odds and the challenger's chances.