Boxing

Why Anthony Joshua Is In For The Biggest Test Of His Career On Saturday

Why Anthony Joshua Is In For The Biggest Test Of His Career On Saturday

A huge night of boxing takes place in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday night. WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua takes on the undefeated Oleksander Usyk of Ukraine. Can Joshua follow up his knockout of Kubrat Pulev? Will Usyk remain undefeated after toppling Chisora?

On The Buildup with Ladbrokes this week, we spoke to WBO-NABO middleweight champion Jason Quigley to preview the fight.

A lot of talk has centered around the inevitable super fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. Usyk, who's the mandatory challenger for Joshua's belts, is going under the radar.

"This is the thing, that people haven't really heard of Usyk," Quigley said. "He's coming from Ukraine, that part of the world where it's kind of, not as much media, not as much publicity around him, not as much hype."

Oleksander Usyk vacated his cruiserweight belts 2019 after becoming the first cruiserweight in history to hold all four major world championships. Quigley says he's being slept on:

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"But he's an Olympic gold medalist, he's undefeated, he was the undisputed cruiserweight champion. He stepped up into heavyweight, not against any old heavyweight that he can knock over. He stepped up against Chisora, who is a massive lump of a man to be coming at you for 10 or 12 rounds. He managed that and he overcame."

What makes Usyk stand out as a boxer? With wins under his belt against the likes of Tony Bellew and Chisora, Quigley has seen some key attributes from the Ukranian in the ring.

"His ability to adapt to situations in a fight," Quigley said. "To change the game plan to change the structure of the fight."

Usyk comes from a long lineage of Ukrainian boxing champions. Quigley reckons he's adapted his training similarly to that of Vasily Lomachenko.

"We see him doing all his figures, and his numbers for training a bit like Lomachenko. I'm sure that's where he got it from because they're great friends."

"People cannot sleep on Oleksander Usyk," Quigley said. "I believe he's the most skillful and talented fighter that Anthony Joshua has come up against in his career."

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What about the size discrepancy? Usyk will be stepping into the ring for a third time at heavyweight after his weight jump.

"It doesn't matter if you can take a shot or not, one big bang from Anthony Joshua on any man's chin, doesn't matter how solid it is - could put you to sleep," Quigley said.

A big question is how does Anthony Joshua deal with a smaller, mobile cruiserweight as such. The likes of Povetkin, Pulev and Parker all posed a different challenge.

"I believe that Joshua is going to try and use his size, his power and his strength to try and tire Usyk out throughout the fight," Quigley assessed.

"Joshua is going to have to be very careful in this fight because there's so much expectation on Anthony Joshua in this fight."

At Ladbrokes, Joshua is 4/9 to win the fight with Usyk the underdog at 2/1. Jason Quigley reckons the night will go down something like this:

I just can't see Joshua getting a stoppage. I don't think that that's going to happen. I think that it's going to be a very technical affair early in the fight, a lot of close rounds early on. My prediction is that Joshua is probably going to wear Usyk out because of his size, because of his punching power. He's going to take it on a unanimous points decision late on. He's going to come on strong late on. But, Usyk is just so smart, he's just such an intelligent fighter and I'm a fan ... I really think Usyk has a massive chance in this fight as well.

See Also: Fantasy FPL Tips: It's Time To Dump Your Tottenham Players

Jonathan Byrne

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