USYK vs JOSHUA 2 FIGHT PREVIEW
Ukraine’s defending champion Oleksandr Usyk is attracting the money ahead of his “Rage on the Red Sea” heavyweight world title rematch with Britain’s Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
British bookmaker William Hill had Usyk as the 4/7 favourite, with 80 per cent of customers backing the Ukrainian to win by knockout or stoppage. Joshua was down as a 13/8 underdog, with a draw at 16/1.
“Most of the commentary around this rematch has been in favour of a Oleksandr Usyk victory, with the Ukrainian being very much the one our customers want to be with ahead of Saturday night,” said Hill spokesman Tony Kenny.
The 35-year-old Usyk, who has served with the Ukrainian army, wore Cossack clothes and stood to sing a patriotic call to arms when the fighters came face to face at a news conference in Jeddah on Wednesday.
“His incentive to take this fight was not his thirst for success or willingness to become the greatest; he took it for his country and for his people, because Ukraine needs victory,” his promoter Alexander Krassyuk told the BBC.
Joshua, who lost to Usyk in front of a sell-out home crowd at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September, is fighting for his future.
The 32-year-old may not be heading into retirement if he loses again but his days of big-money title fights could be over.
“It’s up to me at the end of the day, it’s not up to anyone else what I do with my career,” Joshua told reporters this week as retirement questions were asked.
“I don’t have to do this. Why do I do it? It’s because it’s all I know.”
Victory might be enough to make WBC champion Tyson Fury rethink his retirement, opening up the prospect of an all-British showdown for the unified title in what would be box office gold. - REUTERS
What’s at stake?
Both men will be fighting for more than a fistful of world heavyweight boxing belts and a bumper payday when they step into the ring in Jeddah.
The winner will be crowned the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight champion.
Fighters’ records and form guide
- Nationality: Ukraine
- Stance: Southpaw
- Age: 35
- Height: 6′ 3″ / 191cm
- Reach: 78″ / 198cm
- Pro Boxing record: 19-0-0 (13 KO wins)
- Nationality: United Kingdom
- Stance: Orthodox
- Age: 32
- Height: 6′ 6″ / 198cm
- Reach: 82″ / 208cm
- Pro Boxing record: 24-2-0 (22 KO wins, 1 KO loss)
Form Guide (last five bouts)
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