Anthony Joshua vs Usyk – What To Know About The Saturday Boxing Match
Hate reading? Listen to the podcast here.
Joshua vs. Usyk
2 PM PST on DAZN
It is the biggest PPV in the U.K. of the year, as the national hero, 2012 Olympic gold medalist, and current heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua will take on the 2012 heavyweight (which means cruiserweight in Olympic boxing) gold medalist in Oleksandr Usyk, which can be seen in America on DAZN, a streaming platform.
Joshua is big business, as everything from image or interview he does seems as though it was workshopped by a group of investors or a think-tank group, as Joshua feels to be the U.K.’s equivalent of “Sugar” Ray Leonard in terms of a beloved cultural icon. That being said, Joshua is flawed, and learning on the job. Joshua has never truly turned defense into offense or offense into defense despite being a world champion. Joshua is big, and stronger, yet stiff and robotic, he is the big average, he is good at everything – great at nothing, but he is very big, as we have yet to see him fight his true equal up until this point.
Then we have Usyk, who spent over half of his career fighting on obscure platforms that felt like they were spyware websites more so than legit companies. Anyone remember his fight on KloudTV? While Joshua has fought nearly his whole career at home, Usyk became the fighter of the year in 2018, by going on the road and unifying the cruiserweight division. Usyk is largely thought of as the best cruiserweight since Evander Holyfield, who is the gold standard of the division.
That being said is Usyk too small?
The fight comes down to not just skill, but size, as many believe Usyk will not be able to keep a bigger Joshua off him. Usyk has had mental lapses in his two heavyweight bouts against Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora. Joshua looked very average against Kubrat Pulev in his return as well, meaning – neither fighter looked good in their last bout.
Beyond that, we have to ask is Joshua the same guy after Andy Ruiz Jr. knocked him out. We have yet to see the reckless and wild Joshua who made the U.K. fans fall in love with him, and against Usyk the worst thing he can do is, is try to box him.
The bout is a worthy super-fight with Joshua being viewed as the rightful favorite, but Usyk fully capable of shocking the world.
Speaking of cruiserweights, WBO cruiserweight world champion Lawrence Okolie will face Dilan Prasovic in the co-main event. Okolie to me has the potential to turn into a David Haye-like figure in the U.K. boxing scene and is the most exciting cruiserweight the U.K. has had since David Haye, and has a good case to be made that he is the best cruiserweight in the world currently.
This bout should showcase his skills on full display, and maybe even start the transition for Okolie to become one of the stars of U.K. boxing heading into the next few years.
A barometer fight for Callum Smith as he faces Lenin Castillo in a ten-round light heavyweight bout. Castillo has gone the distance with Dmitry Bivol and Marcus Browne, so if Smith were to stop him that would be a major talking point. Smith will be coming back after his first career loss, a brutal one-sided one to Canelo Alvarez.
Campbell Hatton faces Izan Dura in a four-round lightweight bout, as the son of Ricky Hatton looks to continue his career, as every step will be documented in front of the public eye.
Friday, September 24th, 7 PM – Showtime
Undefeated Jarico O’Quinn of Detroit, Michigan headlines ShoBox against Saul Sanchez in a battle of bantamweight looking to elevate into contender status. The bout should like, all ShoBox cards, be very even.
Sergio Martinez will return this weekend against Brian Rose in Madrid, Spain, the legendary middleweight will return to the ring, as seemingly Martinez more than likely is chasing down a bout with fellow legends of the sport, but a name like Oscar De La Hoya jumps off the screen as a future opponent if Martinez continues to fight.
Arslanbek Makhmudov faces Erkan Teper in Canada. Teper holds an upset KO win over David Price from years back, and Makhmudov is a heavyweight promoted by a Canadian-based promotional entity, and is being moved fairly fasted, and should get a top-15 opponent in his next few fights.
Jimmy Williams vs. Greg Vendetti face each other on UFC Fight Pass. Williams in his last fight defeating Yuri Foreman, who was making a comeback, and Vendetti in his last bout fought, and lost to Erislandy Lara. In short, the winner of this could get a big fight next.
Richard Medina, an emerging prospect out of Texas will be in action in a regional fight as well.
MMA in 500 Words Or Less
UFC 266 – 7 PM PST PPV ESPN+ (w/ additional fee), 5 PM PST undercard on ESPN
The main event will feature featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski taking on Brian Ortega, as this sort of speaks to a glaring new dilemma of the new UFC. The champions are mostly – not from America, a far cry from the good ol’ days of the UFC. Volkanovski is a professional’s professional but will have to develop a long-lasting winning streak to develop a fanbase in America. Volkanovski holds two wins over Max Halloway, a beloved UFC fighter, as well as Jose Aldo, but is now looking to make his own legacy starting here.
Ortega is the classic guy we have tuned into the UFC to watch over the past decades. Ortega has a compelling story, multi-talented, as displayed by a beautiful rendition of “La Bamba”, a vlog in years prior, and is a free-spirit of sorts, who avoided the parallels of inner-city Los Angeles, California when he found the Gracie’s gym, that transformed his life. Ortega, even without a belt is a star and is so likable we look past, a past failed drug test, which seemingly gave new meaning to his nickname “T-City”.
The top of the card is essentially telling us the future is here for the UFC.
The co-main event will see women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko who according to my math will be looking to make her sixth title defense against Lauren Murphy. Murphy is on a five-fight win streak, but most notably beat Joanne Calderwood in her last bout by split decision to get this opportunity.
Shevchenko is so dominant we are looking for someone to give her a close fight – maybe Lauren Murphy is that person?
The fight that might be third on the bill, but is selling the card will be Nick Diaz versus Robbie Lawler in a rematch of a bout that took place back when I was in college, a decade and a half a go. Diaz is the “Stone Cold” Steve Austin of MMA, speaking to an angered and impoverished generation, not unlike movies like “Fight Club” did. Diaz freely admits to smoking weed, does very few interviews, and embodies the traits of a great anti-hero – in short, you just want to see what Nick Diaz does, because it is never boring.
Robbie Lawler is a no-nonsense, big puncher, who has earned his respect over multiple decades, and was stopped by Diaz in the first fight, when Diaz was looked at as no more than a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu guy.
On the ESPN undercard
World-level fighter Marlon Morales will top the bill of the undercard, also in action, Dan Hooker, and Roxanne Modafferi all in separate bouts.