When Oleksandr Usyk landed a big left hand on Anthony Joshua during the seventh round of their recent bout, the writing was on the wall. Indeed, shell-shocked Joshua fans would have noticed the Watford-born heavyweight begin to involuntarily dance around the ring as the thud from Usyk’s punch scrambled his senses.
The fighting world had seen Joshua hurt before but he was now up against a boxer that had the guile to see the job through and that’s exactly what Usyk did during the night that changed his life.
Astonishingly, the 34-year-old Ukrainian now has the chance to become the undisputed world heavyweight champion and in all likelihood, will fight the winner of Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder. It should be said that if the Fury vs Wilder 3 odds are anything to go by, then Usyk has, in effect, earned a fight with Fury as the Englishman is currently at odds of just – 350 to beat Wilder.
— MTK Global Boxing (@MTKGlobal) October 3, 2021
As far as Joshua is concerned, the regrettable truth is that this was a fight that he was meant to have easily dominated, but having lost to Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, his chances of going up against Fury now look all but dead in the water. Naturally, this development hasn’t sat well with the global fighting community given that there seemed to be a fair amount of heel-dragging from both camps in the build-up to their potential showdown. Indeed, the lack of urgency from Fury and Joshua has ultimately cost the world the chance to see these two giants of the heavyweight division go head-to-head.
A lot of this grievance has centered around the fact that we’ll never know what would have happened had they ended up in a ring together, but is that actually true? If anything, we now have a good indication of what would have almost certainly happened.
Firstly, let’s go back to the summer of 2019 and Joshua’s first career loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in Madison Square Garden. At the time, that result was regarded as an anomaly and AJ’s win in the rematch backed that notion up. However, now that the 31-year-old has suffered a second loss in the space of two years, you do feel as if the invincibility has gone, and whilst Joshua may be a skilled heavyweight, he’s not the best of a generation.
I’ve watched the fight, analysed my preparations & identified my mistakes. I’ve learnt my lesson.
Thanks for sending love & checking in. Don’t worry about me. My spirit is strong! pic.twitter.com/waX0gnXgaE
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyjoshua) September 30, 2021
In other words, AJ’s legacy has suffered irreparable damage, and his ability to intelligently box has been brought into question yet again. With this in mind, not even the most ardent Joshua fan could predict a scenario where he was able to beat Fury. Indeed, if he was unable to match Usyk’s speed then it seems like a foregone conclusion that Fury would have danced around him and picked him off with the greatest of ease as he landed devastating jab after devastating jab.
So, whilst we may have been robbed of the chance to see these two battle it out, we do have further conclusive proof that Joshua would have been severely outclassed by Fury should they have met.
Founder of MyMMANews.com
– After writing for Ultimate MMA magazine and serving as the editor for U.S. Combat Sports, both of which went on hiatus, I decided to venture out on my own and enlist a staff of writers and photographers that could help me achieve my goal of telling stories that would otherwise go untold. We pride ourselves in taking a deeper look into the fighter, and understanding what makes them tick.
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