Ahead of Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk’s momentous rematch tonight, live on Sky Sports Box Office, a panel of experts have made their predictions for the big fight.
Usyk’s dynamism and refined skills will be hard to contain so the contest will hinge on whether Joshua, with a new training team, can make adjustments and impose his power-punching style on the brilliant Ukrainian.
After a tense final face-off at Friday’s weigh-in, there is nothing left for them to do but fight.
Carl Froch – Usyk (stoppage)
I think Usyk will be too clever for him and not only beats AJ but potentially gets the stoppage.
The obvious answer to who wins is Usyk wins because it was so one-sided, so conclusive in the first fight. But Anthony Joshua underperformed. He didn’t work to any kind of gameplan. He was a little bit like a deer in the headlights, which is ridiculous because he’s heavyweight champion. But there’s a lot of pressure on his shoulders when he gets in there. Commercially and outside the ring there’s a lot going off. So when he gets through them ropes I think he overthinks it sometimes. If he can go back to basics this could be a different fight.
Joseph Parker – Usyk
I think in the first fight he wanted to show his boxing skill against someone like Usyk, who’s very skillful, a lot of movement, a lot of tricks so for him to try and outbox Usyk it was a bit difficult to watch.
So going into this fight I’m sure he’s going to come in with a different gameplan. He’s got a great coach behind him who’s took a lot of world champions into fights and it’s interesting, I’m not sure how it’s going to go. I do side with Usyk just because of the confidence from the first fight and he’s the champion. But you never know with boxing… If Joshua has the engine and the fitness to put it on him from the first round to 12 and sustain it the whole way, I don’t know if Usyk can put up with that kind of pressure.
Lawrence Okolie – Joshua
I believe AJ gets it done in impressive, impressive fashion. The occasion, the energy leans towards a real rock ’em sock ’em kind of fight and as you can see by them standing next to each other AJ’s got clear physical advantages and I think he’ll get it done.
Mikaela Mayer – Usyk (stoppage)
Joshua made a lot of mistakes in the first fight with Usyk. The main one being he had a pawing jab instead of a stiff one and was waiting for the counter or opening, instead of creating it. Usyk is too busy and has too much movement for that. He controlled the whole fight. I want to see Joshua step up and fight Usyk back with stiff hard jabs and finishing with hooks.
However, it’s hard to change up after so many years of doing the same thing and I’m not sure he’s had enough time with his new trainer to make the proper adjustments. If AJ paws his punches and pulls straight back like he did in the last fight, I have Usyk by knockout near round six. If AJ makes the proper adjustments, he could always score a knockout as well, but I just don’t see him winning on points.
Frazer Clarke – Joshua (stoppage)
There’s a lot of people out there talking about Usyk being so good and this and that. He is very good. There’s no doubt. He’s a great fighter. But he’s a human. If AJ hits him on the chin more than once, he’s only human, he goes down, he probably doesn’t get back up.
If Joshua gets a sustained combination on anyone in the world, boxer or not a boxer, he goes through them.
This could be Britain’s greatest night of heavyweight boxing. I feel like everyone’s putting him as a massive underdog and he might just get outboxed for 12 rounds. But you’d be daft to bet against him.
Johnny Nelson – Joshua (stoppage)
We saw what happened last time, the tactics were wrong. He even admits that. The public are saying he needs to throw the kitchen sink at him. You can’t just throw the kitchen sink at him. It’s got to be educated pressure. He’s got to be a bully.
The devil’s in the detail. If Anthony Joshua can stick to the plan, I say Anthony Joshua stops Oleksandr Usyk in the mid rounds.
Live Usyk v Joshua 2: Build-up
Saturday 20th August 6:00pm
Matthew Macklin – Usyk (stoppage)
I think whatever happens it’ll be a knockout. I don’t think it’ll go 12 rounds. I think either Joshua gets him out of there inside six or he’ll run out of gas in trying and he’ll end up getting stopped late himself. I think the intensity that Joshua needs to reach to get the win isn’t sustainable over 12 rounds. So with that intensity, he’ll either get Usyk, walk him on to a shot, get to him. Or in the process of trying to do that, he’ll gas out and then Usyk will stop him late on.
I think the safer bet is Usyk. I was pretty strong on Usyk before I came out here. But everything Robert Garcia said to me made me see how Joshua could win this. This is a lot closer than what I initially thought.
Jamie Carragher – Usyk
I think Usyk will come out on top. Tactically Joshua got it badly wrong in the first fight. Anthony Joshua tried to be technical and not use his strength and power, where he’s got a huge advantage over Usyk. But I still think Usyk is too cute, too clever and he will come out on top.
Gary Neville – Joshua
In that first fight AJ didn’t throw his punches did he? He didn’t come out and go for it with that extra strength and extra power that he has. I think he’s going to come out and go for it all guns blazing and go for it and he’s going to do it!
Anthony Joshua’s huge heavyweight rematch against Oleksandr Usyk is on Saturday August 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book Usyk vs Joshua 2 now!
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