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Boxing | Wednesday, August 17, 2022 10:52 AM

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 Best Bets: The Cat is Too Quick for AJ

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 Best Bets: The Cat is Too Quick for AJ
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Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua Best Bets: Saturday, August 20th

Many in the boxing world declared Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22KO) foolish for invoking an immediate rematch after being famously dethroned by Andy Ruiz in 2019. But Joshua, who doesn’t back down from a challenge, duly faced Ruiz, despite the criticism, and reclaimed his heavyweight glory on the sands of Saudi Arabia. Having lost his crown once more, this time by Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13KO), Joshua has again exercised his right to an immediate rematch and will be hoping the outcome is the same as the last time he did so. Simply put though, Ruiz is no Usyk, and while there are no certainties in heavyweight boxing, Joshua faces a mountain of a task, one that just might be too great to scale for the brave Brit.

In this article:

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua Preview

Sat, August 20th, 22:00 approx (UK Time)

Rematches in boxing are always labelled with the question of ‘Will it be revenge or repeat?’, Anthony Joshua, the Watford-born superstar, has only revenge on his mind. Standing in the way of heavyweight glory that was once his is Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk, a man considered by many to be one of the pound-for-pound best on the planet.

Usyk, who stepped up to heavyweight after cleaning up the cruiserweight division, will be looking to cement his position in the land of giants with a successful defence of the titles this Saturday. In the first meeting of the pair, questions were asked whether Usyk, who had yet to face a top-tier heavyweight, would cope with the power of a natural big man like Joshua. As it turned out, not only did Usyk cope, but he appeared unphased by what came his way. Joshua had spells of success, but they were few and far between and when Joshua did land his power punches, Usyk soaked them up comfortably and continued his march forward undeterred.

As the fight rolled on, Usyk grew in confidence, found his range and showed little fear of what was coming back at him. Over the 12 rounds, Usyk landed 148 punches on Joshua, the most of any opponent Joshua has faced previously. The precision punching of Usyk took its toll and was clear to see when in the final round Usyk forced Joshua onto the ropes and into survival mode for the closing moments. In that final round, Usyk landed three times as many blows as Joshua and piled on the pressure.

Outside of the ring, there are a lot of unknown elements that may play a part and their significance won’t be clear until fight night. Since the first bout, Usyk appears to have added additional muscle mass (reportedly 15lbs) which could improve his power but also slow him down. Joshua has a new trainer for the first time in his professional career who may be looking to implement a new style and tactics. Not forgetting the obvious anguish Usyk has experienced while defending his homeland of Ukraine during difficult times.

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua Best Bet

All things considered, Joshua was well and truly beaten in the first fight and had it been 30 seconds longer there’s every chance he wouldn’t have heard the final bell. Usyk has phenomenal ring IQ, quick hands, superb footwork, a diverse repertoire of punches in his arsenal that Joshua is unlikely to deal with effectively and Usyk will be buoyed having bested his man once already.

  • Selection: Usyk to win in rounds 7-12
  • Best Odds: 5.00 (William Hill)
  • Stakes: 4/10

More Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua Tips

Odds as at 12:30 pm on August 17th, 2022. Odds may now differ.

Callum Smith vs Mathieu Bauderlique Preview

Sat, August 20th, 21:00 approx (UK Time)

This weekend, Callum Smith (28-1, 20KO), who last fought on the Joshua vs Usyk I undercard, will be looking to continue his assault on the light heavyweight division with another impressive victory. Smith comes up against Frenchman Mathieu Bauderlique (21-1, 12KO), the current European light heavyweight champion.

Smith, whose only loss was at the hands of future hall of famer, Canelo Alvarez, has recently made the move up a weight division to light heavyweight. Standing at a towering 6’3” it was somewhat inconceivable that he made the lower supper middleweight limit for so long. In his last outing, Smith proved in devastating fashion that the power has come up with him (and may even be greater) on the move to 175lbs. Smith, who is still on the comeback trail after his Canelo defeat, knows that a solid win against Bauderlique puts him closer to the division’s title holders.

Bauderlique, not to be entirely overlooked, should be respected as the European champion and will be confident he can upset the odds should Smith overlook him. The reality though is that Bauderlique is taking a major step up in quality as he faces a former unified world champion with a point to prove.

Callum Smith vs Mathieu Bauderlique Best Bet

It is a bit cliché, but Smith will be too big, too strong, and frankly too good for the European champion who is unlikely to keep him off. Bauderlique’s only loss thus far comes by way of KO and this Saturday, Smith will make that two.

  • Selection: Smith to win by KO/TKO
  • Best Odds: 1.57 (William Hill)
  • Stakes: 9/10

More Callum Smith vs Mathieu Bauderlique Tips

Odds as at 12:30 pm on August 17th, 2022. Odds may now differ.

Filip Hrgovic vs Zhilei Zhang Preview

Sat, August 20th, 20:30 approx (UK Time)

In undoubtedly the most intriguing of the undercard bouts, ‘El Animal’ Filip Hrgovic (14-0, 12KO) faces off against ‘Big Bang’ Zhilei Zhang (24-0-1, 19KO). Sorry to dispense with the formalities, but this right here is a proper heavyweight fight and may steal the show!

Both men come into this fight undefeated and no doubt both will be confident of leaving Saudia Arabia with their unbeaten record intact. Of Hrgovic’s 14 wins, 85% have come by KO with Zhang not trailing far behind with a KO record equating to 76%. The stats speak for themselves then in this one, neither man intends to leave it to the judges and at a combined weight of over 500lbs and each man standing at 6’ 6”, how can we not see fireworks?

Hrgovic and Zhang are both former Olympians with the latter claiming a silver medal in the 2008 games, while Hrgovic, who competed in Brazil in 2016, left without a medal. I suspect their Olympic attendances may have been clue enough, but if not, Zhang is the older of the two at 39 years old, nine years older than Hrgovic, a fact which may be the separating factor on fight night.

Filip Hrgovic vs Zhilei Zhang Best Bet

Zhang is a mountain of a man with explosive power that can be delivered by both hands. The problem for Zhang though is that for what he has in power he lacks in stamina. In the standout fight on his record, Zhang floored Jerry Forrest three times in the first three rounds but the fight ended in a draw. Zhang emptied the tank too early and clung on unable to get the stoppage.
Hrgovic, who also has power in both hands, does not have such stamina issues and the youth and energy of the fresher man will inevitably be a factor here.

Hrgovic may have to weather an early storm, but El Animal will know that good things come to those who wait.

  • Selection: Hrgovic to win in Rounds 5-8
  • Best Odds: 2.63 (Paddy Power)
  • Stakes: 5/10

More Filip Hrgovic vs Zhilei Zhang Tips

Odds as at 12:30 pm on August 17th, 2022. Odds may now differ.

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