After a very quiet weekend of boxing, the fight game returns in a major way this weekend. The action kicks off in Hotspur Stadium in Tottenham, UK, and the stakes could not get any higher. With the unified heavyweight title is on the line.
IBF/WBA/WBO unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua puts all of his straps on the line against undefeated former undisputed cruiserweight champion and mandatory challenger for Joshua’s crown, Oleksandr Usyk of Shypyntsi, Ukraine. Joshua, 24-1(22), recaptured his three belts back from the man who took them from him six months earlier. when he outpointed Andy Ruiz in December of 2019. Ruiz stopped Joshua in seven rounds earlier in that year. Largely due to the pandemic Joshua has defended his world titles just once since regaining them nearly two years ago. He successfully blew away Bulgarian heavyweight Kurat Pulev in nine one-sided rounds back in December of 2020. Usyk, a southpaw, sports a perfect 18-0 (13). He captured all four cruiserweight belts three years ago when he dominated Murat Gassiev. He defended the four belts just once when he stopped Tony Bellew in eight rounds also in 2018. He has fought just twice in the three years since the Bellew victory. Winning both bouts, including his most recent victory, a unanimous decision win over Derek Chisora last October.
The card also features a stout undercard capped off by WBO Cruiserweight title-holder Lawrence Okolie. Okolie will make the inaugural defense of his world title, which he won back in March. The Brit shocked Krzysztof Glowacki, a former world champion from Poland. When he scored with a massive right-hook that put the Polish veteran out at Wembley Arena. Okolie touts a perfect 16-0 (13) record and will defend against Dilan Prasovic. An undefeated cruiserweight who hails from Montenegro. Prasovic is also undefeated, 15-0 (12), and most recently fought back in May, stopping an overmatched Tomislav Rudan in four rounds in a scheduled six-rounder. Prasovic, who is largely unknown outside of his native country, scored the best win of his career in Serbia, back in early 2020 when he stopped the undefeated Edin Puhalo in nine rounds.
The undercards also feature former world super-middleweight world champion, Callum Smith. Smith looks to bounce back from his only career loss, an outclassing from Canelo Alvarez back in December of 2020. Smith, takes no tune-up fight in battling former world title challenger Lenin Castillo of The Dominican Republic. Castillo challenged WBA 168-Pound champ Dmitry Bivol back in 2019 on the Usyk-Witherspoon card. Lenin lost a wide decision but gave a gallant and competitive performance. Campbell Hatton, the son of legendary former world champion Ricky Hatton, returned to action for the first time in two months. The legendary son, who last fought back in July and scored a points victory over Jakub Laskowski, will battle Sonny Martinez, 2-4 (0) originally of Uruguay, but now fighting out of Spain. The clash is scheduled for four rounds.