Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk will fight for the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight belts on Saturday night – but the pair seem to be on good terms ahead of their titanic bout. Joshua, 31, will put his titles on the line against the unbeaten Ukranian, with many believing victory will finally pave the way for a mouth-watering all British clash with Tyson Fury.
As expected, during Friday’s weigh-in both went face to face in an intense and frosty stare-down after unveiling musclebound physiques, but then fans were left bemused when a picture of the pair enjoying a selfie together emerged online.
Michael Benson, online boxing editor for Talksport.com, posted the image on Twitter alongside the line: “Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk getting a selfie together after their weigh-in…”
Indeed, boxing fans seemed underwhelmed by the image, with one responding: “Don’t like this. Pretty much says it’s all about money and not the prestige. Which we all know is true anyway but still not a good thing.”
Another wrote: “They might be as well be kissing. Way too friendly for my liking.”
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Another lamented how social media had mobile phones now playing a part in weigh-ins: “Would never have caught Ali and Frazier doing this! Fuming,” he said.
Images of Joshua looking slimmer during his training camp had led to speculation he would be adopting a speed based strategy against Usyk, 34, but he weighed in at 17st 2lbs (240lbs), while his opponent was at his heaviest ever at 15st 11lbs (221lbs).
And afterwards he refuted suggestions he had even intentionally cut down: “I don’t really watch my weight,” he told Sky Sports.
“I don’t know why there is a big thing about weight. Maybe because we are heavyweights so people look at us at our heaviest.”
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“I have been there – I was 18st 2lbs at one stage (for the Carlos Takam fight). But I still managed to throw a lot of combos and go 10 rounds.
“Now I should be able to do the 12 rounds easily because weight does make a difference. As long as you are loose, nimble. Loose and heavy, relaxed shots. I should be good.
“I was heavier and doing it so, now that I’m lighter, I should be able to do it with more ease.”
Usyk, who like Joshua announced himself on the world stage with a gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics, is bidding to become only the third boxer to win world titles at both cruiserweight and heavyweight level at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
And Joshua put the selfie into context, claiming that out of the ring, there was mutual respect between the two.
“Respect? Fear? It’s just a fight. I’m not someone who will be disrespectful unless someone is disrespectful to me.
“I respect the man. He has achieved phenomenal things.”
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