The 2012 London Olympics ended in the same way for Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22 KO) and Olek Usyk (18-0, 13 KO): with a gold around the neck. The two took a little time to consider their future and in 2013 (AJ in October and Usyk in November) they debuted as professionals. The similarities did not end there, since in 2016 both managed to proclaim themselves professional world champions. At that point his career differed, but not by much. The 32-year-old Englishman managed to be the heavyweight king by filling stadiums in England and the 34-year-old Ukrainian won the World Boxing Super Series in his first season to get among the best pound-for-pound. Both had never coincided, since Olek always competed one category below, but in 2019 he decided to go up to the big weights. The fight was within reach.
Usyk did not want to risk and has taken the change in stride. He’s had two fights at heavyweight and has suffered in transition. Now, seems stronger and although the difference in size between the two is clear, the Ukrainian will not be at such a disadvantage in terms of weight (the Englishman will weigh almost nine kilos more). The lawsuit between the two took time to occur because one did not want to run and the other had to correct the ‘mistake’ against Andy Ruiz. Despite this, no one expected the duel so soon, indeed, it hardly ever happened. Joshua was going to unify the heavyweight against Fury, but a judge decreed that the ‘Gipsy King’ must fight Wilder first (October 9) and Usyk did not hesitate to accept. At last the faces will be seen. The Tottenham stadium will receive this Saturday 60,000 who have been vibrating with the duel for weeks.
Boxistically, the fight has many questions, which makes it so attractive. Usyk has returned to the past and has had Anatoly Lomachenko (father of former world champion Vasyl), who led him to Olympic gold. Anatoly only trains one professional: his son, but the relationship that unites them made him accept for this fight. What is Usyk looking for? Reinforce basic concepts of amateur boxing. You want to get in and out quickly, enhance lateral movements … knows he can’t stay in Joshua’s distance. AJ suffered against Ruiz (first fight) when he entered close range and hit him with greater speed. There is the key. Meanwhile, Joshua (still has the Spanish Ángel Fernández in his corner) has shown that after losing is more cautious. He has also improved on the move, but the reputation he has as a ‘glass jaw’ raises doubts. The balance is 60-40 for AJ, but he is facing a very difficult fight. There is only one heavyweight throne and we currently have four contenders. The game of thrones begins.