Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua were all business at the weigh-in on Friday ahead of their hugely anticipated rematch in Jeddah.
The 32-year-old Joshua, as ever in magnificent condition, tipped the scales at 244lbs, a full four pounds heavier than he was last September. Usyk beat Joshua in only his third heavyweight contest of course and there were persistent rumours all week that he had packed on 15 kilos of muscle from that first fight in preparation for this rematch.
However, the Ukrainian star weighed-in at a ready 221.5lbs, surprisingly a pound lighter than he did for their first fight.
AJ is looking to reclaim his place at the heavyweight top table and win back the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles he lost in north London last September.
The pair meeting in a hugely anticipated encounter at the Jeddah Superdome on Saturday, and both looked in tremendous shape. The atmosphere at the weigh-in was in truth pretty reserved ahead of their seismic heavyweight title rematch, with both men remaining respectful despite indulging in a long and intense stare down on stage.
Usyk is undefeated in 13 years while Joshua is aiming to join an elite list who have won the heavyweight title on three occasions. Usyk was rather cryptic when asked about his weight, saying only “You see, your expectations are not met every time.”
Joshua 24-2 (22) has described the rematch as a “must-win” – a loss this weekend would mean three defeats in his last five bouts and a huge rebuilding job – but looked confident and assured on the Arabian Peninsula.
Joshua was asked afterwards what he thought about the stare down but said “Not much. I always say, for me personally, face-offs don’t mean nothing. It’s just about the bell ringing and us throwing leather really. Face-offs don’t win fights.”
For his part Usyk 19-0 (13) is again the smaller man but has clearly packed on muscle and has grown further into his new division after previously reigning as undisputed cruiserweight champion.
The action takes places on Saturday night. Will it be revenge or repeat?