It would be wrong to say that Oleksandr Usyk’s masterclass at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2021 where he beat Anthony Joshua has been totally overshadowed by a narrative that has focused on berating the Englishman, but simultaneously, you do feel that the post-fight conversation has been one-sided. At least, the noise around Joshua’s performance on the night has been louder than the praise directed at Usyk for his showstopping display.
There is a chance that this ongoing discussion could change and instead home in on the Ukrainian’s world-class ability in the ring if he is able to beat Joshua again in their upcoming duel in the desert. The latest boxing odds indicate that there is a distinct possibility of this happening with Usyk priced as the favorite for the bout in Jeddah.
In fact, the Anthony Joshua v Oleksandr Usyk 2 Odds are unequivocal in terms of what is likely to happen with the Ukrainian at just 4/9 to beat the Brit once again. In many respects, those odds speak of Usyk’s total dominance during their initial match-up in London with the experts convinced of the 35-year-old’s outstanding talent.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) September 8, 2021
It should be said that most knowledgeable fight fans share the same view but as initially alluded to, Joshua’s recent downfall has dominated headlines. Naturally, you can understand why when you take into account the heights that Joshua was tipped to reach only for the Englishman to now possibly be a solitary defeat away from early retirement. Admittedly, it has been a story of decline that sells papers but on that particular night against Usyk, Joshua came up against a man who didn’t put a foot wrong.
You could even argue that Usyk did enough to have his display recognized as one of the best that the heavyweight division has witnessed in the last two decades. A lot of this has to do with the Ukrainian’s superior rhythm on the night that saw him out-manoeuvre Joshua and wear him down, all while avoiding fight-ending punches from a man who tipped the scales at 20lbs more than him.
What’s up? Press conference👀 pic.twitter.com/q23KO9FTHE
— Alexander Usyk (@usykaa) September 23, 2021
Eventually, Usyk’s war of attrition would leave Joshua out on his feet in the closing rounds with the Englishman looking to the sky and then his corner for some sort of intervention.
It wasn’t forthcoming and instead, Usyk rapidly went through the gears and began to pummel a hapless Joshua before the final bell went. It was a winning performance that would have beaten most of the active heavyweights in the division today, barring perhaps only Tyson Fury who has an impressive knack for cottoning on to an opponent’s gameplan before they have time to execute it.
Of course, that theory will be put to the test with both Fury and Usyk seemingly on a collision course to fight if the Ukrainian can beat Joshua in Saudi Arabia. Time will naturally tell but even if Usyk is unexpectedly outclassed by Joshua during their rematch and falls out of the running at the business end of the heavyweight division, his performance in London to dethrone Joshua in 2021 should be regarded as one of the most complete of all-time.