Anthony Joshua's form guide ahead of his fight against Oleksandr Usyk

Joshua has won four of his last five bouts, with two of them going the full distance...

Anthony Joshua is up against the biggest test of his career in Oleksandr Usyk.

Yes, he avenged his sole defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr. And yes, he overcame a 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko but this is the most important fight of his career.

Win and the Road to Undisputed is on. Lose and you can kiss goodbye to possibly ever fighting Tyson Fury when both are in their prime.

Can Usyk take a punch? Judging by his fight against Joe Joyce in the amateurs and his resolve at 200lbs on the pro circuit, we think he can but taking on Joshua is a different kettle of fish.

AJ is the unified heavyweight champion and is one of the best finishers in the game if not the best in his division.

Below, Planet Sport looks at Joshua's form going into the fight and reviews his five most recent encounters.

Kubrat Pulev - December 12, 2020

Anthony Joshua marked his return to the ring for the first time during the global pandemic against IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.

It was a fight that had originally been scheduled for 2017 only for Pulev to pull out with a back injury. The durable Carlos Takam stepped in on short notice and delivered a respectable performance.

Joshua and Pulev finally agreed to fight at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the summer of 2020 but it once again got postponed - this time because of Covid-19. The fight finally took place in December with 1,000 fans able to attend the event at SSE Arena, Wembley.

In attendance were key workers from the NHS. Joshua would knock Pulev to the canvas in round three but unlike his normal self, he refused to pull the trigger. Instead, he bided his time and appeared to be trying new things out inside the ring.

After a short renaissance from Pulev, Joshua ended proceedings with a brutal right hand to earn his first win inside the distance since 2018.

Anthony Joshua Kubrat Pulev dec20
Anthony Joshua Kubrat Pulev dec20

Andy Ruiz Jr. - December 7, 2019

The rematch we were all so intrigued about. In a shocking turn of events, Eddie Hearn announced that the fight would be taking place in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia would be hosting the heavyweight spectacle and in return, Matchroom Boxing reportedly received £30million to win the rights. Joshua had been brutally knocked out in their first outing and there was a lot on the line for him against a Ruiz who had become the first Mexican heavyweight champion in boxing history.

However, there was a contrast in weight on the day of the weigh-in. Joshua looked trim and was at his lightest for a world title fight at 237lbs. Meanwhile, Ruiz had clearly been enjoying the fruits of his labour and was massively overweight for the fight coming in at a fleshy 283lbs.

With the ring bigger than their first bout, Joshua jabbed his way to redemption to become a two-time unified heavyweight champion via unanimous decision.

Andy Ruiz Jr. - June 1. 2019

Not the fight AJ wanted. After negotiations stalled between his team and Deontay Wilder's, Joshua turned to another mouthy American in Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller.

A heated rivalry, excitement in the publicity, and a lot of bad mum jokes by Miller made it a marketable fight for Joshua in his first fight across the Atlantic. That was until Miller failed not one, not two but three drugs tests on March 20.

Andy Ruiz Jr
Andy Ruiz Jr

Further VADA tests took on March 31 and Miller tested positive for EPO, HGH and GW1516 again. Up stepped a chubby little Mexican American called Andy Ruiz Jr. He was most known for his split decision defeat to Joseph Parker for the vacant WBO heavyweight crown.

Anyways, judging by the physique of AJ and Ruiz, there was only one winner on paper. After knocking Ruiz down in round three, it looked like it would be just another day at the office for Joshua. That was until Ruiz traded back. Ruiz would knock Joshua down on four occasions before the fight got halted in round seven.

The "Mexican Destroyer" - at odds of 25-1 - was crowned heavyweight king and it is regarded as one of the biggest upsets of all-time alongside Mike Tyson's defeat to Buster Douglas and Lennox Lewis' loss to Hasim Rahman.

Alexander Povetkin - September 22, 2018

Returning to Wembley Stadium for the first time since his titanic win over Wladimir Klitschko, Joshua took on Russia's Alexander Povetkin.

The heavyweight had won gold at the 2008 Olympics and was a former WBA titleholder before relinquishing it to Klitschko in 2016.

Proving to be no slouch despite his age of 39, Povetkin rocked Joshua several times throughout the fight but youth prevailed and Joshua produced a trademark uppercut to end proceedings in round seven.

Joseph Parker - March 31, 2018

Following a tough win over Carlos Takam, Joshua collided with New Zealand's first heavyweight champion Joseph Parker. Three of four world titles were on the line with the WBA, IBF and WBO all up for grabs.

Fighting in front of 70,000 fans in Cardiff, just like Joshua did against Takam, the contest was a cagey affair that went the full distance. It was the first time Joshua had been 12 rounds having previously dispatched all 19 of his previous opponents inside the distance.

CompuBox punch stats revealed that Joshua landed 139 of 383 punches thrown (36.3%) and Parker landed 101 of his 492 thrown (20.5%). AJ got the nod on the scorecards and won by unanimous decision to unify the division.

Read more: Joshua backed to exploit southpaw star

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