Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk LIVE: Build-up for huge heavyweight fight, Ukrainian ARRIVES in UK- latest updates

IT'S been a long wait – but Anthony Joshua is finally back in the ring.

Pumped-up AJ returns to a full house at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, taking on feared Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk in a potential classic in the capital.

Usyk and his team have touched down in the UK and the countdown is well and truly on to Saturday's showdown.

  • Weigh in: Friday, September 24 @ 2.30pm
  • Fight date: Saturday, September 25
  • UK start time: Estimated to be around 10.30pm

Follow ALL the latest build-up and updates with our live blog below…

BETTING SPECIAL – GET JOSHUA TO WIN IN ROUNDS 1-6 AT 60/1 OR ANYTIME AT 25/1

  • Etienne Fermie

    SYK OF IT

    Anthony Joshua has labelled fighting Oleksandr Usyk as the second biggest challenge of his career to date.

    He told the BBC: "On paper, he sits number two, behind Wladimir Klitschko. They’re very different technically, but on paper, he’s an Olympic gold medallist, he reigned for over 10 years, he’s number one.

    "But Usyk is number two because of his success at cruiserweight and then his success so far at heavyweight.

    "One of his strengths is that he’s getting in the ring with me. I’ve got to give him credit for that, it’s going to be tough."

  • Etienne Fermie

    JOSH BOSH

    Anthony Joshua has dubbed his showdown with Oleksandr Usyk 'the perfect storm' just days before their Tottenham tussle.

    The Watford warrior will defend his unified heavyweight titles against the former undisputed cruiserweight king on Saturday night in a mouth-watering showdown at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

    The tantalising clash will be a battle of two London 2012 Olympic gold medallists, a little fact that has only served to juice up the contest.

    Alongside a final trailer for the fight, Joshua wrote on Instagram: "The perfect storm."

  • Gary Stonehouse

    GOOD MORNING BOXING FANS

    Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk are set to fight this Saturday at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

    The bout was put together after Joshua's dream match with fellow British superstar Tyson Fury was postponed.

    Their highly-anticipated clash was derailed after Fury was ordered to face Deontay Wilder in a rematch.

    Thus, AJ will be putting his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles on the line against Usyk.

    The Ukrainian heavyweight arrived in London on Monday with a very simple message for his opponent.

    The Cat said: "Anthony, hello, I'm here!"

    The 34-year-old looked confident ahead of his big title fight with Joshua in north London.

    AJ is set for a major test this weekend and he understands his opponent could indeed cause an upset, just like Andy Ruiz Jr did a while back.

    In fact, Joshua described Usyk as the second toughest opponent of his career, behind Wladimir Klitschko.

    The 31-year-old told BBC Radio 5 Live: “On paper he sits No2, behind Wladimir Klitschko.

    "They're very different technically, but on paper he's an Olympic gold medallist, he reigned for over 10 years, he's No1.

    "But Usyk is No2 because of his success at cruiserweight and then his success so far at heavyweight."

    Meanwhile, the legendary Manny Pacquiao has announced that his boxing career is over.

    Pacquiao said during an appearance on Toni Talks: "My boxing career is already over.

    "It's done because I've been in boxing for a long time and my family says that it is enough."

    This comes after PacMan, who is also a senator in the Philippines, confirmed he will run for president in next year's election.

  • Kostas Lianos

    OTHER PRIORITIES

    Oleksandr Usyk said he doesn't spend too much time thinking of Anthony Joshua ahead of their match on Saturday.

    Usyk said: "At the moment I don’t think about Anthony Joshua.

    "I don’t think about what he will do, what he will use or how he will box.

    "I have a little bit of timing to finish my training camp now, I might think about it then.

    "Right now I think more about how my son feels at school because he has just started first grade and he really did not want to go and do it.

    "He was saying: ‘I don’t want to go to school, dad. I am bored at school and you’re not there’. But everything is fine now, he seems to have calmed down.

    "So I probably think more about that than what Anthony Joshua will do in the ring"

  • Kostas Lianos

    OLEK AT THAT

    Oleksandr Usyk reminded boxing fans of his silky footwork ahead of his fight with Anthony Joshua on Saturday.

    A video posted by promoters Matchroom on Instagram showed Usyk in full flow as he danced during a training exercise.

    The 34-year-old had 'that fight week feeling' as he finally gets his shot at a second world championship.

    And Ukrainian electro-folk band Kazka were the heavyweight's backing track as he pulled off the moves in the gym

    Oleksandr Usyk shows off silky dance moves in training ahead of Anthony Joshua showdown

  • Kostas Lianos

    JOYCE PLAN

    Joe Joyce revealed he wants to take on Anthony Joshua at the Emirates in London.

    Joyce wants to battle Joshua after the latter's clash with Oleksandr Usyk.

    When that idea was put to him, he simply said: “That’s the plan.”

    Joshua is taking on Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this Saturday

  • Kostas Lianos

    READY TO JOE

    Joe Joyce claimed Luis Ortiz turned down a fight with him because he didn't 'want the smoke'.

    Joyce told iFL TV: "I’m just training, waiting for my fight date, and I should be out before the end of the year. Working on things in the gym, getting stronger, fitter, ready for a world title shot soon coming to you.

    “That was an option [to fight Joseph Parker], but he’s obviously now going to fight Derek Chisora, and there were a few more names.

    “Ortiz was mentioned, but I’m not sure he wants the smoke. But there are other names around the area. We’ll see what we can get.

    "The better person to talk to would be Adam or Sam [Joyce's managers]. In the back of my mind, that’s what I can remember as the opponents."

    When asked directly whether Ortiz turned down a fight against him, Joyce then added: “Yeah. He didn’t want a war"

  • Kostas Lianos

    MORE ON USYK

    Michael Hunter explained why Oleksandr Usyk could hand Anthony Joshua an upset.

    Hunter told Sky Sports: "Even though he doesn't focus on hitting hard, he has enough power to absorb and withstand punches.

    "He is bulking up and he is taller than me, he has some length to him.

    "He will do exceptionally well. He hasn't taken any Ls [defeats] and hasn't been in any trouble since he's been pro.

    "A lot of people are saying he hasn't performed to the best of his abilities. Against Joshua, he will have to.

    "He has done it a few times before, like at the Olympics. He is a Grade-A boxer. Joshua is still learning on the job, going through experiences.

    "There is an element of surprise because we don't know what type of Joshua will come out.

    "We know what type of Usyk will come out, we just don't know at what level"

  • Kostas Lianos

    GRADE-A BOXER

    Oleksandr Usyk poses a genuine threat to unified champ Anthony Joshua, according to Michael Hunter.

    Hunter told Sky Sports: "He is fleet-footed and defensive-minded.

    "It will be very difficult to actually get a win over Usyk in a certain fashion.

    "Joshua will have to have a concrete game-plan and follow it. It will be a very hard task.

    "If he pulls it off? Give the man credit. Because this style of fighting, for him, is the most difficult"

    GETTY IMAGES
  • Kostas Lianos

    ALL A BRIT EASY

    Tyson Fury "annihilated" Deontay Wilder because the American is too one dimensional, according to Anthony Joshua.

    Joshua told Sky Sports: "I believed Tyson Fury could potentially do what he done.

    "I just felt like, Deontay Wilder is a formidable ex-champion and has a chance to come back, but I just knew that when he gets to the top level, it will be difficult, because it's one thing getting there and it's another thing staying there.

    "We've seen in some of his fights, it's been difficult for him and then he lands his punch and he's been victorious.

    "But I always believe that when you go to war, you can't have one weapon in your arsenal, which was his right hand.

    "Once that was taken away from him, which Fury did, I'm not going to go into tactics, but he was able to annihilate Wilder and expose him for some of his weaknesses.

    "Fury did a great job tactically and I'm looking forward to their rematch"

  • Kostas Lianos

    HEARN BURN

    Anthony Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn claims Evander Holyfield’s comeback fight against Vitor Belfort left him "disgusted".

    Holyfield’s comeback lasted less than two minutes as Belfort overpowered him immediately.

    Hearn told DAZN: “YouTube boxing is one thing, I don’t mind what Jake Paul’s doing.

    “I respect what Jake Paul is doing because one, he’s putting the work in.

    “Two, he’s not fighting boxing-based fighters.

    “And three, he’s promoting the shows, it’s different.

    “Holyfield is not a young YouTuber in a training camp, going out and fighting an MMA guy.

    “This is a guy that is not medically fit to have a fight. For the commission, who we worked with in Florida before, to allow that to happen?

    “I’ll tell you right now, there is absolutely no way the British Boxing Board of Control would even consider allowing that fight to happen.

    “They could have done six rounds. What we saw, it actually disgusted me”

  • Kostas Lianos

    TRAINING DAY

    Anthony Joshua opened up about his training ahead of the fight with Oleksandr Usyk.

    Joshua told the Daily Mail: "I’ve been training on the edge. Exposing myself to being hit by southpaw partners because of only using my left hand.

    "That’s hard. That hurts. But the basic necessities of living in the pandemic were perfect for me. I like the basics of life. I don’t need a lot to make me happy.

    "More importantly, this has helped me realise that putting yourself in vulnerable situations brings the best out of you.

    "Not being allowed to impose my size and power in those sessions taught me not only the power of deep practice but also the power of the brain.

    "Our brain is like plastic. It is always changing and you can use that to change and improve yourself. To find out more about who you are"

  • Kostas Lianos

    NUMBER TWO

    Anthony Joshua described his upcoming opponent Oleksandr Usyk as the second toughest opponent of his career, behind Wladimir Klitschko.

    Joshua told BBC Radio 5 Live: “On paper he sits No2, behind Wladimir Klitschko.

    "They're very different technically, but on paper he's an Olympic gold medallist, he reigned for over 10 years, he's No1.

    "But Usyk is No2 because of his success at cruiserweight and then his success so far at heavyweight"

    GETTY IMAGES
  • Kostas Lianos

    PACQUIAO RETIRES

    Meanwhile, the legendary Manny Pacquiao has announced that his boxing career is over.

    Pacquiao said during an appearance on Toni Talks: "My boxing career is already over.

    "It's done because I've been in boxing for a long time and my family says that it is enough."

    This comes after PacMan, who is also a senator in the Philippines, confirmed he will run for president in next year's election.

  • Kostas Lianos

    USYK ARRIVES

    Oleksandr Usyk arrived in London today with a very simple message for his opponent Anthony Joshua.

    Usyk said: "Anthony, hello, I'm here!"

    The Ukrainian bruiser looked confident ahead of his big title fight with Joshua in north London.

    AJ is set for a major test on Saturday and he understands his opponent could indeed cause an upset, just like Andy Ruiz Jr did a while back

  • Kostas Lianos

    BIG FIGHT

    Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk are set to fight this Saturday at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

    The bout was put together after Joshua's dream match with Tyson Fury was postponed.

    Their highly-anticipated clash was derailed after Fury was ordered to face Deontay Wilder in a rematch.

    Thus, AJ will be putting his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles on the line against Usyk.

  • Etienne Fermie

    'GRADE-A BOXER'

    Heavyweight Michael Hunter believes Oleksandr Usyk poses a genuine threat to unified champ Anthony Joshua.

    Hunter suffered his only career defeat to date against the undefeated Ukrainian in April 2017 and has warned AJ about his ability.

    Discussing Usyk's talents with Sky Sports, Hunter, 33, said: "He is fleet-footed and defensive-minded.

    "It will be very difficult to actually get a win over Usyk in a certain fashion.

    "Joshua will have to have a concrete game-plan and follow it. It will be a very hard task.

    "If he pulls it off? Give the man credit. Because this style of fighting, for him, is the most difficult."

  • Etienne Fermie

    READY TO JOE

    Joe Joyce has claimed fellow heavyweight rival Luis Ortiz turned down a fight with him because he didn't 'want the smoke'.

    The 36-year-old Brit is currently awaiting his world title opportunity after his win over Daniel Dubois last year put him in the position as mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua's WBO strap.

    Speaking to iFL TV, he said: "I’m just training, waiting for my fight date, and I should be out before the end of the year. Working on things in the gym, getting stronger, fitter, ready for a world title shot soon coming to you.

    “That was an option [to fight Joseph Parker], but he’s obviously now going to fight Derek Chisora, and there were a few more names.

    “[Luis] Ortiz was mentioned, but I’m not sure he wants the smoke. But there are other names around the area. We’ll see what we can get.

    "The better person to talk to would be Adam or Sam [Joyce's managers]. In the back of my mind, that’s what I can remember as the opponents."

    When asked directly whether Ortiz turned down a fight against him, Joyce then added: “Yeah. He didn’t want a war."

  • Etienne Fermie

    BRAWN TO WIN

    Anthony Joshua is tired of hearing about how his fight with Oleksandr Usyk is just a battle between the Ukrainian's brilliant brain and his incredible brawn.

    AJ said: “If it was just about that, I wouldn’t be motivated to get out of bed, to train, to put the yards in, to fatigue myself physically, mentally, to recover in the space of six or seven hours and go back and do it again in the morning.

    “The positive affirmations, deep practice, practicing on the edge, being vulnerable. All of these kinds of things make a good fighter, it’s not just about being the big man.

    “You can see I’ve thrown myself into improving at a deeper level, because if it was just about being big then I’d go in that ring and knock him out in 20 seconds.

    “The first punch and every opponent should drop. But, what I realised over the years is that it’s not about that, it’s about angles, timing, setting punches up, concentration, understanding what’s coming back and outclassing an opponent in all those departments.

    “If you follow your As, Bs and Cs it leads to your KOs.”

  • Etienne Fermie

    NO JOSHING ABOUT

    Anthony Joshua warned Oleksandr Usyk that his intimidation tactics will mean nothing as he towers over him on Saturday.

    After the Ukraine southpaw, 34, outpointed Derek Chisora in October, he searched for AJ in the Wembley arena crowd and warned him he is next.

    And he was at Joshua’s 2018 Wembley Stadium win over Alexander Povetkin, staring deeply into the celebrating Brit hero’s eyes like a comic villain.

    But the WBA, IBF and WBO king — who at 6ft 6in — is two inches taller and usually around three stone heavier than the former undisputed cruiserweight champ — says all those mind games will count for nothing when they step in the ring.

    When asked how that awkward Halloween meeting felt, AJ said: “It was an interesting moment.

    “I saw him in the flesh and I saw things, I was telling Del to throw things but it is so different when you are in there in front of your opponent.

    “He has been to a lot of my fights and seen certain things but when I am in front of him he will know it is a different ball game.”

  • Etienne Fermie

    CHILD'S PLAY

    Oleksandr Usyk claims he is more worried about his son’s first month at school than fighting Anthony Joshua.

    Ukraine’s 34-year-old former undisputed cruiserweight king gets a crack at the Brit icon’s WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles at the Tottenham Stadium on Saturday.

    Ahead of the fight, the ice-cool fighter said: "At the moment I don’t think about Anthony Joshua. I don’t think about what he will do, what he will use or how he will box.

    “I have a little bit of timing to finish my training camp now, I might think about it then. Right now I think more about how my son feels at school because he has just started first grade and he really did not want to go and do it.

    “He was saying: ‘I don’t want to go to school, dad. I am bored at school and you’re not there.’ But everything is fine now, he seems to have calmed down. So I probably think more about that than what Anthony Joshuua will do in the ring.”

  • Jim Sheridan

    PPV PRICE IS IN

    It's a sell-out show this weekend at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – 60,000 punters in the arena -so the majority of you settling in to watch AJ's return from the sofa.

    The bout is being shown on Sky Sports Box Office, with the official PPV price now revealed to be £24.95.

    After this fight, AJ becomes a free agent as his deal with Sky runs out – so watch this space on how things shape up going forward.

    For the time being, you can purchase the fight through your SkyQ Box or by heading to the Sky Sports Box Office website – you DON'T have to be a Sky customer to purchase.

  • Jim Sheridan

    'I'M COMING FOR YOU'

    Usyk has been prepping for his first crack at a heavyweight belt in his homeland of Ukraine, which he left this morning onboard a private plane.

    The Cat shared snaps of himself and his team about to board a private jet to Instagram earlier.

    And his entire entourage donned fluorescent turquoise tracksuits for the trip.

  • Jim Sheridan

    AJ VS USYK

    It seems like a long time since we last saw heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua strutting his stuff in the ring.

    Watford's finest is set to return to action this Saturday for the first time in 2021, almost ten long months since dispatching Kubrat Pulev in brutal fashion at Wembley.

    And if there's any ring rust he'll have to make sure it doesn't last long, because his opponent Olesandr Usyk is not here to play games.

    The feared Ukrainian has a pro record of 18-0 and stepped up to heavyweight after dominating at world level as a cruiserweight – just ask Tony Bellew.

    We last saw Usyk in October last year when he saw off Dereck Chisora, with Del Boy taking him the distance that night after a blood and thunder battle.

    This might not be the unification between AJ and Tyson Fury that everyone wanted post-lockdown, but it's still got the potential to be an absolute corker.

    We're here to guide you through fight week, with pressers, the weigh in and undercard chat to keep you going until the ring walks on Saturday night.

    Stay tuned – with AJ around, things are never dull.

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