- Andres Ferrari is ESPN.com’s boxing and MMA editor.
The boxing world was expecting a fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury for the undisputed heavyweight championship this year. That of course isn’t happening, with Fury scheduled to face Deontay Wilder for the third time on Oct. 9. While that fight could be a possibility in 2022, Joshua needed to stay busy and will defend his WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight world titles against Olaksandr Usyk, the WBO mandatory challenger, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Saturday (DAZN, 1 p.m. ET).
Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs), 31, of Watford, England, has fought his entire professional career as a heavyweight and is the big favorite at -270, according to Caesars Sportsbook. Joshua suffered a shocking loss to Andy Ruiz in 2019, but avenged that defeat in a rematch six months later to regain his belts.
Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs), 34, of Shypyntsi, Ukraine, is a former undisputed cruiserweight champion that moved to heavyweight recently and has accumulated two victories in the division — a TKO over Chazz Witherspoon and a unanimous decision against Derek Chisora. Neither of those fighters are at the level of Joshua.
Can Joshua keep his belts and set up a unification fight against the winner of Fury-Wilder next year? Or will it be Usyk handing Joshua another upset to shake up the heavyweight division once again?
We asked former opponents and boxing analysts for their take on the fight and their predictions.
Editor’s note: Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Andy Ruiz, former heavyweight unified champion, defeated Joshua by TKO in 2019; lost to Joshua by decision in the rematch six months later
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