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Boxing: Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk Odds & Prediction

Joshua vs Usyk Betting Odds

We’re just a short time removed from Anthony Joshua’s victory over Andy Ruiz in their rematch to reclaim the WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles and the WBO has ordered him to defend the title against Oleksandr Usyk. This fight isn’t officially announced yet as the IBF wants AJ to defend that belt against Kubrat Pulev, but since Usyk and Joshua are under the same Matchroom Boxing banner with Eddie Hearn and DAZN, it appears the WBO belt will be defended. The former undisputed cruiserweight champ, Usyk, is a +160 dog with the heavyweight champ, Joshua, coming back at -200.

Odds Analysis

Usyk made the jump from being the undisputed cruiserweight champion up to fighting with the big boys, making his heavyweight debut in mid-October. The Ukraine native won that bout when his opponent, Chazz Witherspoon, failed to get off the stool after the seventh round and now he may be thrust into a title fight with Joshua. This is the first time Usyk has been an underdog as a pro. He has typically closed as a sizable favorite, with his lowest odds coming when he was a -200 favorite against Murat Gassiev in the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight final.

Joshua heads into a fight as a slight favorite for the second straight time, after closing as a -205 favorite in his rematch with Ruiz in early December. Prior to that bout, the England native was nearly unbettable with odds coming in at -1000 or larger.

Joshua vs Usyk

Much like his fellow countryman, the pound-for-pound best boxer on the planet, Vasyl Lomachenko, Usyk has outstanding boxing fundamentals with tremendous footwork and is very elusive. He does a great job working behind his jab, stopping his opponents in their tracks when they look to engage or setting up opportunities to land his power punches. His ability to get out of harm’s way will often frustrate his foes, which causes them to get a little wild and sloppy, creating openings for his power to come through. Thirteen of his 17 wins have been by knockout.

As for Joshua, he showed a real evolution in his game in the Ruiz rematch, looking more like a traditional English boxer – stick and jab, light on his feet with exceptional defense. That resulted in AJ winning just his second fight that has gone to the judges’ scorecards; his other 21 wins have all come by knockout. Often times, after landing a clean lead hook to stagger his foe, Joshua’s power would excite him and he would go in for the kill. However, that approach was the reason he lost his titles to Andy Ruiz in the first bout in June. Putting Ruiz on the canvas in the third round, he went on the attack and was tagged himself, never really recovering and ultimately losing in the seventh.

This is a very intriguing bout as Usyk had a much longer and illustrious amateur career, winning gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games, and is as fundamentally sound as they come. Joshua looked much more like a boxer in his rematch with Ruiz, staying out of harm’s way and doing a fantastic job maintaining distance and clinching when Ruiz would get on the inside. AJ may have to have a similar approach against the shorter Usyk. Meanwhile, if the Ukranian can find entries and get on the inside, I think he is more technically sound and could find success.

Prediction: Oleksandr Usyk (+160) via decision

Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk Odds
FighterOdds
Anthony Joshua-200
Oleksandr Usyk+160

Odds as of December 13 at Bovada