Anthony Joshua lost on points to underdog challenger Oleksandr Usyk who was 2/1 outsider in a fight which many thought would have been a warm-up fight for Joshua v Fury. This upset has now raised a number of questions for Joshua in regard to where he will go next, who will be his next opponent, and if he has what it takes anymore.
A rematch with Usyk would be the next step in many people’s minds, with the Fury fight coming after that if he regains his title. But it’s the second time in three years’ that he has lost his title and I don’t think he has looked at his best in a while.
The build-up to this fight had the feeling it was very much the ‘second option’ after the Joshua v Fury match fell through. Usyk definitely was portrayed as the rank outsider, and he was only going to be a steppingstone to the real fight.
The fight itself was very much fought on Usyk’s terms with Joshua unsuccessfully trying to out box the Ukrainian. Joshua’s tactics were surprising to many considering he had three inches and nearly 20 pounds on his opponent. Usyk’s domination of the opening and closing rounds was enough for him to get him the win and make him the third ever heavyweight and cruiserweight champion after David Haye and Evander Holyfield. Joshua could also count himself lucky that the fight ended when it did as if it had gone even a minute longer I think Usyk would have knocked Joshua out which may have been an even bigger embarrassment to him in front of his home fans.
For Usyk, there are a number of possible next fights, while there is a rematch clause in his contract if Joshua wants it, a fight with Fury may seem like the next most likely option. The rematch is something I am sure Usyk would not avoid.
The big question that I have coming out of this fight is what will Anthony Joshua’s legacy be, with two losses on his record so far and no fights against Wilder or Fury will he be remembered on their level? There’s not many people out there now that hold them on the same level and the opinion will remain the same until they finally fight. This can all change however, in a couple of fights, and we could be saying “Joshua is the greatest fighter of the last twenty years” but for now all we can do is wait and see.