Oleksandr Usyk, challenger Anthony Joshua tip scales, ready for heavyweight boxing title rematch

Challenger Anthony Joshua on Friday weighed 244.5 pounds – the heaviest he had for a fight since June 2019 – ahead of his unified heavyweight championship rematch on Saturday against Oleksandr Usyk in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) tipped the scales at 221.5 pounds, a quarter of a pound heavier than his first encounter against Joshua in September when he dominated by unanimous decision to win three titles.

Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) has gained 4.5 pounds since then, and he’s at his heaviest weight for a fight since he was upset by Andy Ruiz in June 2019.

The 32-year-old Englishman avenged that loss to Ruiz six months later in Saudi Arabia to reclaim his three titles. He will try to do it again against a far more formidable opponent in Usyk.

After stepping off the scale, Usyk and Joshua stared at them for a long time, which neither wanted to interrupt, but the challenger didn’t put too much stock in theatrical prelims.

“Faceoffs don’t win fights,” said Joshua, who is ranked No. 4 in the ESPN heavyweight division. “…None of those things matter. It’s all about the fight. Weight, faceoffs, none of that matters to me. I’m just looking forward to the fight.”

Usyk, 35, on ESPN’s No. 2 heavyweight division and No. 6 pound-for-pound boxer, won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, as did Joshua. Usyk joined a territorial defense battalion in Ukraine after Russia invaded before leaving to start training camp.

“I am motivated by the people of Ukraine who are fighting hard to defend our independence, to defend our freedom and to defend our culture,” Usyk, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, said earlier this week. “I am receiving voice and video messages from them with words of support and messages that they are praying for me and my victory. … And that motivates me.”

https://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/34423979/oleksandr-usyk-challenger-anthony-joshua-tip-scales-ready-heavyweight-boxing-title-rematch Oleksandr Usyk, challenger Anthony Joshua tip scales, ready for heavyweight boxing title rematch

Emma Bowman

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