Anthony Joshua may look slimmer than the last time he stepped into a ring, but he isn’t any lighter after weights were announced for his huge world heavyweight title defence vs Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday night.
Joshua (24-1) tipped the scales at 240.8lbs (17st 2.8lbs) for his comprehensive demolition of Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev in London last December. And some expects believed he would come in significantly lighter here against the speedy slickster that is Usyk. But he tipped the scales at virtually the same weight – 240lbs this time. He had been as light as 237lbs in the past for that boxing masterclass when he regained his world titles from Andy Ruiz Jr in December 2019.
Usyk meanwhile did come in heavier than he had done against Dereck Chisora last October – as expected. The Ukrainian was 217.25lbs for his points win over ‘Del Boy’ (15st 7.25lbs) but he is 4lbs heavier for Saturday night after coming in at 221.25lbs (15st 11.25lbs) on Friday afternoon.
Joshua talk unfounded
Joshua’s weight confounded those ‘experts’ who believed he would really shed weight in a bid to nullify Usyk’s advantage. The others, who feared he would be giving up his main advantage – size and power – if he did so will be sleeping easily on the eve of the bout.
Usyk by the same token did not put on significant beef, with an extra 4lbs more about his evolution into a heavyweight frame rather than anything which might hamper his elite ringcraft and movement.
Usyk growing into heavy
The Ukrainian has had only two fights at heavyweight after moving up from cruiser. He easily saw off Chazz Witherspoon in 2019 before Chisora gave him a much sterner examination when they met in London in October 2020.
In terms of the odds, Joshua remains a clear but not overwhelming favourite – he is around the 4/11 mark with Usyk a 9/4 underdog.
Saturday’s bout, for Joshua’s IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles, will be a Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view in the UK (£24.95). DAZN meanwhile will stream the bout outside the UK – including in the United States.