Home Boxing News Does Anthony Joshua Have Any Hope of Redemption against Oleksandr Usyk?

Does Anthony Joshua Have Any Hope of Redemption against Oleksandr Usyk?

Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Oleksander Usyk and Anthony Joshua Final Press Conference ahead of their World Heavyweight Title Fight on saturday night.17 August 2022Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom BoxingOleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua

Eddie Hearn has a penchant for the spectacular, and last week he announced the event of the summer, Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua II. The rematch is scheduled to take place on the 20th of August in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. As was the case after the humbling defeat at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jr. in Madison Square Garden back in 2019, AJ will return to the Gulf State seeking redemption. Oddschecker, which compares online bookmakers providing betting and free offers on Boxing has made the former Heavyweight Champion of the World an underdog for the highly anticipated rematch. But does the London-native stand much of a chance against one of the world’s all-time great technicians?

 

Act I

The first time around, many fans and pundits believed that in order to secure victory and retain his championship, Joshua had to impose his will on the smaller challenger. He was and still is the much larger man, outweighing his opponent by as much as 20 lbs on fight night. As we had seen in his demolitions of Alexander Povetkin and then Kubrat Pulev just a few months prior to the first fight, AJ possesses the power of a juggernaut. Using that power was exactly what he needed to do against the former Undisputed Cruiserweight Champ. As we all saw, however, that wasn’t the approach that he and his now-former coach Robert McCracken decided to take.

The game plan last September was attempting to outbox the smaller Usyk. The Ukrainian had racked up 335 victories in the amateur game and came into his title fight undefeated in 18 bouts as a professional. And the vast majority of those wins came courtesy of a technical masterclass.

Despite the reigning champion holding his own during the first half of the fight, his game plan quickly came undone in the second, as Usyk’s superior footwork, hand speed and use of angles came to the fore. Joshua was getting lit up in the 12th round and looked like a beaten man as the final bell sounded. The tactics must change if he is to have any chance of success in the rematch.

 

The Rematch 

It seems that AJ has understood that things must change. Former coach McCracken is a famed amateur coach in the UK, leading Team GB to eight medals at across two Olympic Games. But that amateur background isn’t what he needs to defeat Usyk. He won’t beat the 2-weight World Champion at his own game. His new trainer, Robert Garcia is famed for instilling a high output into his fighters. Everyone remembers when Garcia-trained Marcos Maidana dismantled the then-undefeated Adrien Broner back in 2013 to seal the WBA Welterweight Championship. He then gave Floyd Mayweather all he could handle five months later, slipping to a razor-thin Majority Decision defeat.

During that fight, the Argentinian threw an astonishing 858 punches in his attempts to dethrone ‘Money’. It’s highly unlikely that AJ will throw that many in his attempt to become a three-time World Heavyweight Champion, however, he definitely won’t be as gun-shy as he looked during those final three rounds in the first fight.

 

What chance does the Brit have? 

Despite the pretty damning verdict thus far, you can never write Anthony Joshua off. We saw the best and worst of him against Wladimir Klitschko when he climbed off the canvas to knock out the former king of the decision in the 11th round. That was the best showcase of his aggression, but when Ruiz handed him his first defeat, we saw the worst of it. After he had floored the dangerous counter-puncher in the third round of that contest, he recklessly went in for the kill, and it was the American who got the better of the exchange, dropping the champion and eventually stopping him in Round 7.

One thing is for certain, however, if he attempts to make good of this defeat in a similar to way to how he avenged his first loss, where he jabbed and grabbed his way to a Unanimous Decision in the same arena as the upcoming rematch, he will end up unsuccessful.