Dillian Whyte has been forced to cancel his heavyweight clash with Otto Wallin on October 30 due to a shoulder injury, promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed on Wednesday.

The fight with Sweden's Wallin, set to take place at the O2 Arena in London, was the main event on an impressive card with Whyte set to return to action for the first time since beating Alexander Povetkin in March.

However, a shoulder injury sustained in training has forced the postponement of the fight and it remains unclear whether the clash will be rescheduled.

The winner was in line to face the undefeated Tyson Fury for the WBC heavyweight crown in 2022, though Whyte's next bout may still be against the 'Gyspy King' should the meeting with Wallin be called off completely.

The WBC had ruled that the winner of Fury and Deontay Wilder's trilogy fight would have 30 days to agree on a bout with IBF, WBA and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk, or face the reigning interim champion - the winner of Whyte versus Wallin.

However, Anthony Joshua has triggered a rematch clause to ensure he fights Usyk again in 2022, opening the door for Whyte or Wallin to step up.

Should Whyte be required to challenge Wallin in a rearranged clash, defeat will once again throw a spanner in the works for the Briton, despite him currently ranking as the WBC's interim challenger.

Whyte has encountered similar problems before while waiting for a world title shot, having been knocked out by Povetkin in 2020 before recovering in the rematch between the pair.

Anthony Joshua is visiting various trainers across the United States as he looks to potentially alter his coaching set-up ahead of his rematch with Oleksandr Uysk.

Joshua's tactics were scrutinised after he lost his IBF, WBA and WBO belts to the undefeated Uysk, who collected a unanimous decision at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25.

The two-time former unified world heavyweight champion must now triumph in his rematch, likely in March 2022, to reclaim his belts after the second defeat of his professional career.

Trainer Robert McCracken, who was criticised for allowing Joshua to attempt to outbox Usyk, has worked with the 2012 Olympic champion for the entirety of his professional career but the 32-year-old has been pictured working in gyms across the USA as he scouts for a potential new trainer.

Virgil Hunter, Eddy Reynoso and most recently Ronnie Shields - who worked with both Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield – have all been seen with Joshua and the latter trainer confirmed the rumours the Briton was in the market for a new appointment.

"They reached out to me and they asked if I would be interested in taking a look at AJ and that he wanted to come down to Texas and see if things would work out between him and I," Shields told ThaBoxingVoice.

"I said, 'No problem, I would love to see if we had a connection together'.

"He said, 'European boxing is different from boxing in the US'. He realised he had to come to the US to get something different.

"He told me, 'Listen, I know people don't think I'm a dog. I've got to be a dog in this next fight'.

"And that's his words. He told me, 'I just need you to show me how to be the best dog you can teach me to be.'"

American boxer Jermall Charlo trains with Shields and posted several videos on Instagram of Joshua speaking with Tyson's former coach after undertaking a light training session.

Joshua has provided no official confirmation on his coaching staff yet, with assistant trainers Angel Hernandez and Joby Clayton also part of his set-up.

After losing to Andy Ruiz Jr, Joshua added Hernandez to his team but it remains unseen as to whether he will continue with McCracken as his trainer for the Usyk rematch.

 

Anthony Joshua triggered a rematch clause against Oleksandr Usyk for the heavyweight championship, promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed.

Joshua was dethroned by Usyk, who was crowned WBA, WBO and IBF champion after a unanimous points decision victory at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on September 25.

Now 24-2, having also suffered a shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019 before winning their rematch, Joshua is set to step into the ring again with Usyk next year.

"Joshua is training now, and today we officially triggered the rematch for the Oleksandr Usyk fight, which we will see early next spring," Hearn told DAZN.

"So back in the game and looking for him to become a three-time heavyweight champion."

Joshua had been tipped for a long-awaited duel with Tyson Fury next year before his upset at the hands of Ukrainian opponent Usyk.

Fury is due to face Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on Saturday as they conclude a contentious trilogy – the former won the second bout following a draw.

"As I said, I'll fight Tyson Fury, Wilder, without the belts. The belts are fun. It's great, it's legacy. But with or without the belts, I'll fight whoever," Joshua said after his loss to Usyk.

"The road to undisputed is a nice title to have and a nice title to chase.

"But would you still watch it, without the belts? That's the main thing – is you've got two competitive fighters in the ring from UK soil, that just want to go toe-to-toe."

Anthony Joshua made the "worst decision ever" when he tried to outbox Oleksandr Usyk, his manager Eddie Hearn admits.

Undefeated Usyk was crowned WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion after a unanimous points decision victory over Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25.

Joshua must now win a rematch, expected to be held in March 2022, to reclaim his belts, as he has done previously after suffering a shock defeat to Andy Ruiz in 2019.

Hearn insists Joshua will have a different approach next time after acknowledging his fighter and coach Rob McCracken got it all wrong in the first bout against former cruiserweight king Usyk.

He told talkSPORT: "Usyk is another level of boxing intelligence to anyone, so what is the last thing you do? Box him! And try to outbox him, try and be more intelligent than him. 

"For some reason, AJ had it in his head that he could outbox him, maybe out of stubbornness or maybe a little bit of ignorance as well.

"Worst decision ever. The only way you're going to beat Usyk is to use your size, use your attributes.

"AJ is one of the most devastating punchers out there; great combination punching, speed, everything. You’ve got to back him up, you’ve got to beat him up.

"But these are all the things that maybe he knew he had to do, but he thought he could outbox Usyk, which is a disastrous strategy quite frankly."

Joshua will come into the rematch heavier in order to utilise his size and power advantage.

Hearn added: "In the rematch, there is no secrets. He's going to fight exactly the opposite; he's going to come in heavier, he's going to try to bulldoze him, beat him up.

"Usyk was saying after the fight, 'I was hurt a few times in the fight', and he was. From nothing.

"When AJ gets hold of him, it will be a different story. But, it's like [fighting] Tyson Fury, you've got to get hold of him.

"AJ has got to be ruthless, not completely reckless, but he was outboxed. 

"He is not going to outbox Usyk. This is what has got to be drummed into him in camp, he loves watching these old fighters and the sweet science. Forget it.

"If the AJ that boxed Wladimir Klitschko boxed Usyk the other night, I believe he wins. So he has got to back to that devastating style which made him what he is.

"He has improved so much as a boxer, but right now, that is the last thing we need."

Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua could still go head-to-head in the ring even if the latter "isn't a champion" because the British public would still "buy into" the occasion, according to promoter Frank Warren.

Fury is set to face Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on Saturday as they conclude a contentious trilogy, and while the 'Gypsy King' is seen as favourite, he will be well aware of what could happen if he fails to hit top form after seeing Joshua come up short.

Joshua, who was tipped for a long-awaited duel with Fury next year, was beaten by Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.

With Joshua now having to focus on reclaiming his lost WBA, IBF and WBO titles from Usyk in a rematch that is likely to take place in February, any bout with Fury now looks a long way off.

Though Warren, co-promoter for Fury, is adamant an appetite for the fight will remain even if Joshua does not go into the contest as a champion.

"I do believe the public buys into that fight even if AJ isn't champion," Warren told BBC Sport.

"AJ's said a lot of things since the fight [and] a lot of nonsense from 'doctor' [Joshua's promoter, Eddie] Hearn about his eye. You got beat by the better man on the night and Joshua said that, to his credit.

"Joshua is a big fight. They keep talking about him still learning. He's 32 years old. He's an Olympic champion and world champion.

"Of course, you can still learn every day, but at that level, at 32 years of age, with the experience you've got and the amount of professional fights you've got, if you're not absolutely world class at that level, then you're never going to be.

"But having said that, if he did fight Tyson he would have a lot to prove and I do think the public would buy into it."

Either way, Warren expects Fury to return to fight in the UK for the first time since 2018 regardless of who he fights next after Wilder.

"There's no Americans out there for him to fight. I think he'll be back here which will be a great homecoming," he continued.

"If Tyson wins the fight, we'll sit down. There's a few options there. Usyk would be a massive fight here. The Joshua fight is still a massive fight.

"Dillian Whyte is a big fight, providing he beats Otto Wallin, which isn't a foregone conclusion. There's some big fights for him."

Wladimir Klitschko says Anthony Joshua "can still have his time" after he was dethroned by Oleksandr Usyk last Saturday.

Usyk outclassed Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, earning a unanimous points decision to win the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles.

Joshua is set to face the unbeaten Ukrainian in a rematch following the second defeat of his career.

Brit Joshua said he has "learned his lesson" from the loss to Usyk, two years after Andy Ruiz Jr sensationally stopped him at Madison Square Garden.

Klitschko was beaten by Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster in 2003 and 2004 respectively but responded by going 11 years without defeat.

The former world heavyweight champion, who lost to Joshua in the final fight of his career, says his former rival can put his latest setback behind him.

"We have seen AJ challenged," he told Sky Sports.

"I remember my time. I lost two fights within [13 months]. To bounce back? To eventually become one of the longest reigning champions?

"AJ can still have his time, absolutely. It is all about how to overcome the challenge."

Klitschko was not surprised to see his compatriot Usyk become a heavyweight champion for the first time.

"Since 2012, I watched Usyk winning his [Olympic] gold and I watched AJ winning his gold.

"Usyk has been undefeated for such a long time, winning all the titles as a cruiserweight and now with the heavyweights. This man is something special."

Anthony Joshua says he has "learned his lesson" following his defeat to Oleksandr Usyk last weekend.

The former IBF, WBA and WBO champion relinquished his titles after an inspired performance by his Ukrainian opponent at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Joshua failed to recover from a slow start and subsequently slipped to his second defeat in four fights, with Usyk prevailing after 12 rounds in a unanimous points decision to maintain his unbeaten record as a professional.

The two fighters are reportedly set to do battle once more in early 2022 after the dethroned heavyweight champion "activated in principle" a rematch clause.

Now 24-2, Joshua insists he knows where he went wrong as the Briton looks to reclaim his belts.

Posting on Instagram, he told his 13 million followers: "I've watched the fight, analysed my preparations and identified my mistakes.

"I've learnt my lesson. Thanks for sending love and checking in. 

"Don't worry about me. My spirit is strong!"

Tyson Fury says he was "absolutely wounded" by Anthony Joshua's defeat to Oleksandr Usyk last weekend.

Usyk claimed Joshua's IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles on Saturday, outclassing the champion at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The 19-0 Usyk mastered Joshua, earning a unanimous points decision to leave the prospect of a unification fight between Fury and his fellow Briton in tatters.

With Joshua now looking set for a rematch with Usyk, Fury will put his WBC belt on the line when he faces Deontay Wilder for a third time at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on October 9.

Fury revealed he was rocked by the second defeat Joshua has suffered in his career.

He said: "Did I watch the fight? Yes I did. Was I absolutely wounded that he won? Yes I was. I was hoping Joshua could win the fight, but he couldn't – and that’s none of my business.

"The only thing I'm bothered about is beating Deontay Wilder, and that's the most dangerous heavyweight out there. In my opinion, Wilder beats Joshua, Usyk, all the rest of the division, comfortable – but he cannot beat me."

Fury stated that he has "no interest in slating anybody or kicking anybody while they are down".

He added: "It ain't my style. I like to pick on someone who is doing well, successful, on top of the game – I don’t like picking on people who are down and probably at their lowest point and probably mentally unstable and unwell with a big loss after such a long reign.

"Usyk did his job, he had to do what he had to do, and that's that, and Joshua has got to do what he has got to do."

Fury is focused on beating Wilder for a second time rather than who he might fight after doing battle with the American.

"I don't care about anybody else – they are not on my radar, only the 'Bronze Bomber', aka the big dosser," he said.

"After him, we will talk, the promoters will do their job, and I will always do mine. Never worry about the 'Gypsy King' fulfilling his end of a bargain – I will always f****** fight until there's not a fight left in me.

"You just worry about the other people doing their end of the bargain."

Fury warned Wilder he has no chance of gaining revenge.

"I'm in fantastic shape, fit as a fiddle. I'm absolutely ready, today, tomorrow and forever. I'll always be ready, and I'll never make excuses," he said.

"When I beat Wilder, I'll be on to the next one, so on and so forth. It's never about the opponent. It's the Tyson Fury show until I hang those gloves up. Until that day, it's all about me, and the roadshow continues. All these years, 2008 to 2021, and I'm still undefeated.

"There ain't a man out there born from his mother that can stop me or beat me. I haven't seen one yet anyway. Maybe he’s not born, or maybe he is but he hasn’t got the guts to come and fight me."

Oleksandr Usyk is ready to beat Anthony Joshua for a second time following confirmation that the dethroned heavyweight champion has "activated in principle" a rematch clause.

Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk outclassed Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday to win the IBF, WBA and WBO titles by unanimous points decision.

Joshua, who is now 24-2 after suffering a second defeat in four fights, said after his latest surprise loss he is "110 per cent" up for a rematch to win back his belts.

Speaking at a news conference in Kiev, Usyk's promoter Alexander Krassyuk confirmed the wheels are in motion for the two men to meet again, likely in early 2022.

"The rematch was specified in the contract," Krassyuk said. "It has already been activated in principle, from the side of Joshua.

"So I remember when we discussed with Oleksandr the issue of rematch, he was delighted and said, 'Wow, cool, I will beat [Anthony] twice'."

Usyk's southpaw stance and smooth footwork troubled Joshua from the outset and the unbeaten Ukrainian left his opponent on the ropes and desperate for the bell in the final round.

However, Joseph Parker – the first man to take Joshua the distance in their 2018 unification fight – has backed the Briton to come back stronger if the rematch goes ahead.

"Usyk showed everyone watching tremendous skill and footwork and movement. You just saw him outbox and outsmart AJ for the 12 rounds," Parker told Stats Perform.

"But [Joshua's] a smart man, and he's got a smart team. He's faced a loss and adversity, and he's come back with a better game plan. That's what he's going to need to do. 

"I think I saw an interview saying he's already watched the fight straight after it happened, and he just needs to make those adjustments and how to counter someone like Usyk.

"Who wins the rematch depends on the training, it depends on who shows up on the day. But going into the rematch, Usyk would have big confidence. 

"It's pretty crazy how he came from the cruiserweight division, unified champion of the world, and then has three fights and he's the unified champion of the world. 

"That's the goal of a lot of heavyweights, to be champion of the world and be unified champ. It's so crazy how things happen."

Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn said he expects the rematch to take place in February or March next year, and it is "very likely to happen in the United Kingdom", as he effectively ruled out staging the high-profile bout in Ukraine.

But two-weight world champion Usyk, who is now 19-0, reiterated his desire to face Joshua in front of a packed crowd at the Olympic Stadium in his homeland.

Usyk said: "How does Hearn know that in February at the Olympic Stadium it is bad to box? Has he ever fought in February at the Olympic Stadium?"

Anthony Joshua must learn from his defeat to Oleksandr Usyk if he is to come back stronger and keep alive the possibility of facing Tyson Fury, according to Joseph Parker.

Joshua lost his IBF, WBA and WBO titles to Usyk on Saturday after being outclassed by the Ukrainian on home soil at a packed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The 31-year-old had no answer to former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk and lost on a unanimous points decision.

It was just the second defeat of Joshua's professional career, having previously been stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019 before reclaiming the belts in their rematch.

The prospect of Joshua and Fury facing off now appears slim, with the latter's promoter Frank Warren casting doubt on a bout that at one point looked certain to take place this year.

A rematch with 19-0 Usyk may now be on the cards for Joshua before he can contemplate facing Fury, who has a third clash with Deontay Wilder coming up on October 9.

But Parker, who was the first man to take Joshua the distance in their 2018 unification fight in Cardiff, believes there is still hope of an all-British heavyweight clash taking place.

"I feel like the point is just the best fighting the best," Parker told Stats Perform. "Even though AJ lost that fight to Usyk, he's still considered one of the best. 

"He's going to go down in history as one of the best heavyweights. I think people want to see the best fight the best and that's a fight that can still happen. 

"People will still be very interested to see who's the best British heavyweight there is."

Speaking after his surprise defeat in London at the weekend, Joshua said he is "110 per cent" up for a rematch with Usyk to win back his belts.

Despite the manner of the defeat, Parker has backed Joshua to put up a far stronger performance if he does step back into the ring with Usyk.

"I was a little surprised by the defeat," Parker said. "I mean, a lot of other people called it a 50-50 fight, a lot of people said it was going to be a tear up for AJ to win. 

"But Usyk showed everyone watching tremendous skill and footwork and movement. You just saw him outbox and outsmart AJ for the 12 rounds.

"But [Joshua's] a smart man and he's got a smart team. He's faced a loss and adversity and he's come back with a better game plan. That's what he's going to need to do. 

"I think I saw an interview saying he's already watched the fight straight after it happened and he just needs to make those adjustments and how to counter someone like Usyk.

"Who wins the rematch depends on the training, it depends on who shows up on the day. But going into the rematch, Usyk would have big confidence. 

"It's pretty crazy how he came from the cruiserweight division, unified champion of the world and then has three fights and he's the unified champion of the world. 

"That's the goal of a lot of heavyweights, is to be champion of the world and be unified champ. It's so crazy how things happen."

Joshua followed up his victory over Parker, which saw him retain his WBA, IBF and IBO belts and win the WBO title, with a knockout triumph over Alexander Povetkin.

The Briton has lost two of his following four fights, however, giving him a record of 24-2 and leading to inevitable suggestions that his career is now declining.

But Parker said: "It's hard to say if that's the case. From when I fought him, he's had a couple of wins, a loss to Ruiz and come back and beat him again.

"He's saying that he's improving and getting better, but maybe he just was faced with a fighter who was just different, you know, in his element. 

"When you see Usyk, with the footwork and the movement - he didn't really allow AJ to land his shots and catch him. He was just in and out and just very smart."

Anthony Joshua says he would still fight Tyson Fury without being a world champion after he was emphatically dethroned by Oleksandr Usyk.

Usyk outclassed Joshua at a packed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday to take the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles.

Joshua had no answer to the unbeaten Ukrainian, who secured a masterful unanimous decision victory and looked like stopping the Briton in the final round.

A rematch with the 19-0 Usyk could be on the cards for Joshua rather than a unification bout with Fury after he suffered the second defeat of his professional career on home soil.

The 31-year-old declared that he would be eager to fight his compatriot Fury, who faces a third clash with Deontay Wilder on October 9, regardless of whether he has any belts to put on the line.

"The road to undisputed and all that stuff, it's good," said Joshua, who suffered a badly swollen right eye in his loss in London.

"As I said, I'll fight Tyson Fury, Wilder, without the belts. The belts are fun. It's great, it's legacy. But with or without the belts, I'll fight whoever.

"The road to undisputed is a nice title to have and a nice title to chase.

"But would you still watch it, without the belts? That's the main thing – is you've got two competitive fighters in the ring from UK soil, that just want to go toe-to-toe.!

Asked if he would want a rematch with Usyk, Joshua said: "100 per cent. 110 per cent.

"I'm ready to get back to training. Because of the 12 rounds, my lungs and everything, it was a good 12-rounder, so I'll be in a good place when I get back into training to pick up where we left off."

Anthony Joshua wants an immediate rematch with Oleksandr Usyk after being dethroned in their heavyweight bout, while the British star was upbeat despite the surprise defeat.

Joshua was stripped of his IBF, WBA and WBO titles by Usyk, who scored a unanimous points decision in just his third fight since stepping up to heavyweight in London on Saturday.

Usyk – a former undisputed cruiserweight champion – handed Joshua his second career loss, having previously been stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019 before reclaiming the belts in their rematch.

Joshua is hoping to do so again with Usyk after falling to 24-2 in front of more than 66,000 fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

"A 100 per cent, a 110 per cent," Joshua said during his post-fight news conference.

"I'm ready to get back to training. Because I did 12 rounds, my lungs, and everything... I'll be in a good place even I get back to training and pick up where we left off."

Joshua had hoped to be taking on WBC holder Tyson Fury in a lucrative showdown to decide an undisputed champion in the heavyweight division, but that plan was scuppered when his rival was ordered to face Deontay Wilder for a third time instead. 

Usyk was the back-up option picked to bridge the gap, the mandatory challenger coming with a superb pedigree but limited experience at heavyweight. 

Unbeaten as he improved to 19-0, Usyk's southpaw stance and smooth footwork troubled Joshua from the outset and a flurry of punches left his star opponent on the ropes and desperate for the bell in the final round.

"It's a great lesson today. It was a great lesson," Joshua told reporters.

"I know, we can look at it from a negative point of view, but for me, I gotta take it as a great lesson and build on that situation... I'm not a weak person. I don't want to be in my bedroom sulking about the situation.

"I'm looking at it like a great lesson, go back, study and rejuvenate myself because nobody's gonna do it for me."

Anthony Joshua will need to make some "big changes" if he wants to avenge his points defeat to Oleksandr Usyk, according to Eddie Hearn.

In just his third fight since stepping up to heavyweight, the unbeaten Usyk produced a clinical performance to beat home favourite Joshua in London and claim the IBF, WBA and WBO titles.

The Ukrainian's crisp punching and classy footwork saw him deservedly get the nod from all three judges at ringside, improving his record to 19-0 as a professional, having already been the undisputed champion in the cruiserweight division, too.

Joshua did not immediately give an in-ring interview in the aftermath of just a second career defeat, having previously been stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr. in New York in June 2019.

The Briton bounced back to reclaim his belts from the same opponent and could opt to try to do the same again with Usyk, though Hearn feels the tactics will need to be different if the outcome is to change second time around.

"Congratulations to Oleksandr Usyk, what a fighter. He put in a great performance tonight and the better man won," the promoter told Sky Sports.

"It was really the danger of the fight, you overthink it and try to be too technical and don't make your mark early enough in the fight. Usyk is very fit, has great feet and threw a lot of punches in there.  

"It was all the things you worry about against a fighter like Usyk. He exercised his style very, very well, was probably a bit more aggressive than anticipated. He was really good tonight and goes down in history. 

"No complaints from AJ, he will get up and go again. He is already talking about training again on Monday, but this is a tough defeat.

"This was getting beat by a pound-for-pound fighter. We've been here before in Madison Square Garden, but that was different. This is just being beaten by a better man on the night. 

"You have to make some big changes in the rematch to avenge that defeat."

Hearn added: "Usyk was the deserved winner and if that happens again, he [Joshua] gets beaten. He's got to impose himself early, though it's going to be difficult because Usyk's confidence is going to be sky high.  

"When you get to the level that Joshua has, as we saw after the Ruiz defeat, there is no 10-round comeback fights, no warm-ups. You go straight back in. 

"He will want to go straight into that rematch. He will be an underdog after tonight, but this is what he does. He chose to take on a pound-for-pound great and deserves credit for that."

Joshua had seemingly been set to face Tyson Fury, only for that unification showdown to be scuppered by an arbitration ruling.

WBC champion Fury was ordered to take on Deontay Wilder for a third time instead, with that trilogy bout booked for October 9 in Las Vegas. 

While a future showdown with Fury may be off the table for now, Hearn made clear that Joshua has lost none of his desire, despite what he described as an "average" display against Usyk.

"He lives and breathes boxing. Boxing saved him, boxing made him - he won't fall out of love with the game," Hearn stated.

"When you do, it's time to walk away from the sport. The desire is still there, it will be there, but you can have that, you've got to be good enough. 

"He will know when he watches that back. That, for me, was an average performance from Joshua. He can do so much better in that fight, but this is what happens in this sport. You can criticise him but he's facing the best consistently."

Oleksandr Usyk produced a boxing masterclass to sensationally dethrone Anthony Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, completely altering the heavyweight landscape in the process. 

Usyk maintained his unbeaten record as a professional by outsmarting and outclassing the home favourite for the vast majority of their 12-round contest, rightly earning a unanimous points triumph to claim the IBF, WBA and WBO titles on Saturday.

Joshua started slowly and simply never managed to catch up. While there were bright spells for the defending champion around the midway stage, he faded badly down the stretch having struggled to ever impose himself. 

Usyk even threatened to force a late stoppage as the Ukrainian came on strong in the closing rounds, yet he eventually settled for a comfortable win on the scorecards. The three judges scored it 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 in his favour. 

"The fight went exactly the way I expected it to go,” Usyk said in his post-fight interview with DAZN. 

"There were times when Anthony pushed me hard but nothing special. I had no objective to knock him out. My corner pushed me not to do that."

Joshua had hoped to be taking on WBC title holder Tyson Fury in a lucrative showdown to decide an undisputed champion in the division, only for that plan to be scuppered when his rival was ordered to face Deontay Wilder for a third time instead. 

Usyk was the back-up option picked to bridge the gap, the mandatory challenger with the WBO holder coming with a superb pedigree but limited experience at heavyweight. 

Still, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion was undeterred by giving away both a height and weight advantage. Elusive from the outset, his southpaw stance and smooth footwork bamboozled a plodding Joshua. 

Straight lefts landed with unerring accuracy, though by the halfway stage it appeared the Briton had begun to work out a method to counter what he was up against. 

However, it proved to be a false dawn for Joshua, the composed Usyk undoubtedly finishing the stronger of the two, including an impressive 11th round that saw him land consistently before a finale that saw Joshua at times appearing ready to buckle. 

While he did make it through to the final bell on his feet, the verdict was clear: Usyk had stunned both his opponent and a partisan crowd to be crowned in the English capital.

Anthony Joshua has no intention of making things "too complicated" when he defends his world heavyweight titles against the unbeaten Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday.  

The reigning IBF, WBA and WBO champion looked in excellent condition as he weighed in on Friday, tipping the scales at 240 pounds – a fraction lighter than for his previous fight, against Kubrat Pulev, at the end of 2020.

Joshua was always going to have a height and weight advantage coming into an intriguing contest at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend, even if Usyk did come in at a career-high 221.25 pounds.

It is just a third outing at heavyweight for the Ukrainian, who was previously the undisputed champion at cruiserweight before moving up. His boxing abilities should not be doubted, considering his achievements as an amateur as well, but after taking on Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora previously, he is about to jump back in at the deep end nearly a year on from his last bout.

The physical differences further increase the intrigue over how each man will approach the occasion, as two fighters who struck gold at the London Olympics in 2012 meet in the English capital.

"It's called a boxing match for a reason. I love the sweet science. I will display my boxing skills, but I won't make it too complicated in there," Joshua said at the final news conference.

This, of course, was not the fight the 31-year-old had expected to be next on his agenda. A deal was in place to take on Tyson Fury to reveal a new undisputed champion, but the holder of the WBC title has been ordered to take on Deontay Wilder for a third time instead.

That trilogy bout takes place on October 9 in Las Vegas, a hurdle Fury will likely have to clear if we are to see the all-British showdown that has been teased for too long, amid lengthy negotiations, social media sparring and arbitration hearings.

Before then, though, Joshua must focus on the task at hand. Usyk, the mandatory challenger for the WBO strap, is not an opponent to be taken lightly either, even if he weighed considerably less on the scales.

The result is all that matters for Joshua, who knows just what is at stake. Unlike his opponent, Usyk has little to lose – apart from that unblemished record in the pros – and everything to gain, having received the chance to spring the type of surprise that would seismically alter the heavyweight landscape.

The pair took part in a tense head-to-head showdown after weighing in, though they did share a handshake and a smile before parting ways. Respectful during the build-up, it will be down to business when they next come face to face with each other.

RECENT HISTORY

Joshua finished an otherwise quiet 2020 in style, stopping the ever-willing but overmatched Pulev inside nine rounds in his solitary outing during the year. A small number of fans were present inside Wembley Arena amid the coronavirus pandemic, but there will be far more in attendance at the impressive home of Spurs this weekend.

That Pulev bout came just over a year after Joshua's revenge mission against Andy Ruiz Jr, when he boxed intelligently to regain the titles he had lost against the same opponent midway through 2019 in a stunning upset on his American debut.

As for Usyk, he came through a gruelling physical test against Chisora, winning their October 2020 meeting by unanimous decision on the scorecards.

Chisora, who was left "gutted" by the final verdict, was asked in the aftermath if he felt his opponent had shown him enough to be able to beat one of the big names in the division, to which he replied: "No, because in the heavyweight game, you have to fight, not box."

TALE OF THE TAPE 

ANTHONY JOSHUA

Age: 31
Height: 6ft 6ins (198cm)
Weight: 240lbs
Reach: 82ins
Professional record: 24-1 (22 KOs)
Major career titles: IBF, WBA, WBO heavyweight

OLEKSANDR USYK

Age: 34
Height: 6ft 3ins (191cm) 
Weight: 221.25lbs
Reach: 78ins  
Professional record: 18-0 (13 KOs) 
Major career titles: IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO cruiserweight

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