Betting preview: Anthony Joshua backed to exploit southpaw superstar

Planet Sport previews the upcoming heavyweight clash between unified champion Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk in London.

Anthony Joshua aims to remain on track to unify the heavyweight division when he steps into the ring with Oleksandr Usyk in September.

While it was not the fight fans were anticipating, it's certainly a contest which whets the appetite.

The bout we all wanted was Joshua vs Fury. It was expected to happen on August 14 in Saudi Arabia only for a court arbitration to block it.

WBC titlist Tyson Fury will now face Deontay Wilder in a trilogy installment on October 9 in Las Vegas. Joshua branded Fury a 'disgrace' and had let the boxing world down after negotiations between the two teams broke down.

Usyk - his Ukrainian opponent - last fought Derek Chisora in October, outpointing the heavyweight veteran via unanimous decision.

His only other bout at heavyweight came against Chazz Witherspoon towards the end of 2019.

Usyk picked up a stoppage victory, forcing the American to retire in his corner after round seven.

Meanwhile, Joshua most recently fought in December against Kubrat Pulev.

That fight was originally set for the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium earlier in 2020, but it had to be put back because of the ongoing pandemic.

It took place at Wembley Arena and Joshua put in one of his most complete performances to dispatch Pulev in the ninth-round.

AJ picked apart his opponent round-by-round, knocking him down twice in the third before eventually ending things inside the distance. 

The stats that matter…

Usyk threw more punches (674) than Joshua (310) in their previous fights respectively, but he did spend three more rounds in the ring.

But according to CombuBox stats, Joshua was the more precise out of the two, landing 37.4% of his punches compared to 29% for Usyk against Chisora.

AJ was also more accurate when it comes to jabs and power punches. He landed 87 of his 384 jabs (23%) and 107 of his 290 power shots (37%).

Usyk landed just 29 of his 267 jabs (11%), but his power punches were more successful as 110 of his 358 (31%) hit the mark.

The Brit also holds an advantage when it comes to reach - he is three inches taller than his opponent.

Joshua is more renowned for stopping his opponents than Usyk and that is shown by their records. AJ has 22 wins via TKO/KO from his 24 professional bouts (92%).

Usyk has six fewer fights but unlike Joshua, he is unbeaten. The Ukrainian has 13 wins via TKO/KO (72%).

He is recognised as more of a pure boxer than Joshua and he has fought 32 more rounds than the heavyweight champion (144 compared to 112).

All of the stats are courtesy of CompuBox.

What would a victory mean for AJ?

It is no secret that Joshua has his eyes on a unification fight with Fury.

With this now off the table for now, AJ cannot afford to be complacent in the meantime. Especially because he is facing such an elite level fighter in Usyk next.

Usyk is the same fighter who won the World Boxing Super Series in 2018, became undisputed champion at 200lbs and sent Tony Bellew into retirement.

His opponent is no mug and if he is even afforded a slight opening, he is more than capable of punishing AJ.

Going off his last win against Pulev, Joshua appears to have matured as a boxer since his devastating loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019.

After a loss of that magnitude and knowing the type of character Joshua is, he will leave no stone unturned against Usyk or anyone else. Alexander Krassyuk - Usyk's manager - told Planet Sport a rematch clause has been added if Joshua is to taste defeat.

AJ needs a fast start to establish his jab and put his opponent on the back foot from the get-go.

In the end, the Brit's power and size advantage *should* prove to be too much for Usyk. We are backing Joshua to deliver a late stoppage and retain his three world titles. 

A win here would see Joshua's focus turn back to unifying the division again, with a fight against Fury or Wilder desired in the coming months.

Hearn has mentioned that February 2022 could be a possible date for the unification.

Let's just hope that the teams have learned from the mistakes made this year so the fight everyone wants can be made within the next six months… but don't hold your breath either way.

When and where?

Joshua vs Usyk is set to take place on Saturday, September 25. The venue for this clash is the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

The ring walks should get started at around 10:30pm GMT.

What's on the line?

AJ will be defending his IBF, IBO, WBA (Super) and WBO world heavyweight titles.

Where can I watch it?

The event will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and in the United States the whole card will be streamed on DAZN.

Read more: Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk: A look at the longshot odds

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