Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk Odds, Boxing Picks & Predictions: Will AJ Retain the Heavyweight Title? (Saturday, September, 25)
- Anthony Joshua (-200 odds) is favored over Oleksandr Usyk in Saturday night's heavyweight title fight at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
- Usyk, a former cruiserweight champion, is making a huge step up in competition in his third heavyweight fight .. but can he shock the champ?
- Read the full fight preview, including Malik Smith's betting pick below.
Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk Odds
Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk will get his shot at the unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua as the two headline DAZN’s boxing card on Saturday in London.
Joshua (24-1, 22 KO) is typically a massive favorite against every opponent he faces, but is just -200 entering this fight (65.5% implied odds) and for good reason. Usyk (18-0, 13 KO) won Olympic gold in 2012 fighting in the weight division just below Joshua and has arguably the best resume of any Joshua opponent since Wladimir Klitschko.
So where is the betting value in this fight? Let’s break down both fighters in the matchup.
Will Usyk’s Skill Make the Difference?
Joshua is a known quantity in the heavyweight division and despite his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr., there is still enough film on him to be confident in who he is as a fighter. In reality, this fight is all about who Usyk is, specifically as a heavyweight.
Fighters move from cruiserweight to heavyweight all the time and Usyk has two fights under his belt in the division, but neither of his previous opponents — Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora — are on Joshua’s level.
Usyk is all about volume and averages nearly double the punches thrown per round (65.5) as Joshua does (37.3), according to CompuBox data. Most of those punches are jabs and Usyk ranks first in jabs thrown (39.6) per round and fourth in jabs landed (7.6) per CompuBox.
The drawback, though, is that he isn’t a strong puncher. He falls in the middle of the pack in CompuBox’s rankings in terms of power punches landed per round (11). His boxing skills, and footwork are elite, so he’ll have an edge on Joshua in that regard, but eventually he will need to land some harder shots to keep Joshua at bay.
Defensively, Usyk is excellent and should be able to avoid some of the power shots that Joshua will throw his way. His opponents have landed 22.9% of their punches against him per CompuBox. Usyk weighed in at 221 pounds, the heaviest he’s been in pro fight so it will be interesting to see if that impacts his footwork.
Joshua vs. Usyk Pick
I don’t think Usyk has the power to stop Joshua and really his best shot at winning here is outboxing the champ. Yes, Joshua has gone down before, but I think the days of him taking any opponent for granted are long gone and Usyk is enough of a challenge that Joshua should be prepared for him.
On the flip side, I don’t think Joshua will be seeking a knockout here, either. I suspect he’ll feel his way through the early rounds and look to pressure Usyk a the fight wears on. The odds that fight goes to a decision are +100 on BetMGM and while that is a tempting bet, Joshua has scored some late knockouts in his career.
Really I think the value here is on Joshua’s moneyline. The last time he was this short of a favorite was after a loss; these odds don’t come around often.
At -200, I think the safest bet is on Joshua to win.
The Pick: Anthony Joshua ML (-200)