Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk LIVE: AJ and Usyk prepare for weigh-in for fight TOMORROW – latest updates

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

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 10.15pm

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

  • Kealan Hughes

    'EXPECT A CHESS MATCH'

    Tyson Fury expects a tough, awkward fight for Anthony Joshua on Saturday, and has advised his compatriot to go big with the punches.

    He believes AJ has to look to knock out Oleksandr Usyk early on or risk burning up his energy and allowing the Ukrainian into the fight.

    Fury told Boxing Scene: "I’m not convinced that he is gonna win, either.

    "I expect AJ to come out trying to box a bit more because of this new way he boxes now and uses his jab.

    “And he knows he doesn’t have the stamina to take a fight to somebody under sustained pressure, and keep that up, because he gasses after about three rounds. And then he needs to take three or four rounds off.

    "So, he wouldn’t be able to do that against Usyk because Usyk will be on him all the time, making him fight. So, I expect it to be awkward, maybe a bit of a chess match for a few rounds. And I expect AJ to run out of ideas, really.

    "If he doesn’t land on him early and get him out of there with big punches, then I see it being a tough night for AJ and maybe even a stoppage loss.”

  • Kealan Hughes

    'AN HONOUR'

    Retailer JD have unveiled a mural of Anthony Joshua on Tottenham high road in preparation for his fight for Oleksandr Usyk, which takes place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

    The eye-catching painting was produced by Manchester-based street artist Akse P19, who has commemorated other significant British icons, in and out of sport.

    AJ, and ambassador for JD, is proud at being recognised alongside the other figures Akse P19 has commemorated.

    He said: "I’ve seen what Akse has done with Captain Tom, George Floyd and Marcus Rashford, as well as Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips and Ian Curtis.

    "So, to be amongst these great people is an honour and I’m happy that he chose me to be a part of this great history that he’s creating.

    “I’m not saying that I’m an icon, but the fact that he’s painting people that are doing big things makes me feel humbled and honoured.

    "The fight in this painting is also taken from when I became two-time heavyweight champion of the world, so I feel like it has a pivotal history.”

  • Gary Stonehouse

    THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS

    Anthony Joshua is predicting a knockout win to round off a "spectacular show" for 60,000 fans when he defends his three world titles against Oleksandyr Usyk.

    But Usyk claims tomorrow night's fight at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.will go down in history for dramatically different reasons.

    British hero AJ said: “I know what I’m going to do. “I just know – a knockout.

    “It’s Kronk style. I’ve been watching a lot of certain things – I like Emanuel Steward’s mindset. Obviously you have to do your ABCs but if you follow them you get to KO.

    “That’s what I’m here to do – put on a spectacular show. People want to see knockouts. 

    I don’t fight good guys for respect, if you got me King Kong I would give it a go."

    But former cruiserweight king Usyk shrugged off worries he is too light to trouble Joshua and said: “I think me and Anthony are going to make another step in history.

    “Something that people later will talk about, people will remember.”

    And Ukrainian Usyk's last victim Tony Bellew also warned AJ: “He hits enough to get your respect.

    "It’s not going to be that easy and he also sets traps that don’t allow you to do that. 

    “You’ve got to make him engage mentally – he is so far ahead of everyone mentally in the game. He doesn’t tire."

  • Ian Tuckey

    WHY JOSHUA'S THE KING

    Anthony Joshua looks like the perfect physical specimen to be a heavyweight world champion but he has the brain to match the muscles.

    The 31-year-old’s chief physio ROB MADDEN has worked with the Watford icon throughout his constant evolution. And he has broken down for SunSport the five essential traits that make the WBA, IBF and WBO boxing king the perfect fighting machine.

    POSITIVITY

    THERE is an energy that AJ gives off when he walks into a room that just lifts everybody.

    When you are training hard, exhausted, maybe  injured, or even  nervous, that energy can be so advantageous, it can change everything.

    PURE POWER

    AJ’s genetics are phenomenal and that makes for incredible raw strength and power.

    I am relatively young but I know that I will never meet anyone like him in the rest of my career. He is a one-off.

    DISCIPLINE

    ANT’S discipline to training and, almost even more importantly, life is  incredible.

    He always turns up, to training, to fights, to media events, he never lets us down.

    STAMINA

    HIS cardiovascular capacity and engine is underrated.

    AJ does a lot of work on that in the gym with his boxing and on the bike.

    There has been some criticism of AJ’s engine but we know how powerful his lungs are. He’s phenomenal and has worked so hard on it.

  • Ian Tuckey

    FAME'S NOT MY GAME

    It might not be the fight the nation demanded but, for the first time in three years, Anthony Joshua will  pack out a major British stadium again tomorrow night, writes DAVE KIDD.

    Joshua claims he is not in the fight game for the fame, but to lift the profile of his sweet science to unprecedented levels.

    That he undoubtedly did in 2017 and 2018, when we grew accustomed to AJ’s big nights out, as he slayed Wladimir Klitschko, Carlos Takam, Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin in front of 80,000 crowds at Wembley and Cardiff.

    Since then, Joshua lost his crown to Andy Ruiz Jr in New York, won it back in a soulless desert setting in Saudi Arabia, then endured the pandemic like the rest of us before he knocked out Kubrat Pulev in front of a tiny audience at  Wembley Arena last year.

    At Tottenham’s magnificent new stadium tomorrow night, Joshua will put his three belts on the line in front of a 68,000 crowd against Ukraine’s former undisputed world cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.

    And Joshua, 31, said: “When I  started boxing in around 2008, there was a global financial crisis and no real investment in sport, no governments were investing on boxing.

    "But I committed and I worked hard and brought attention back to boxing.

    “I don’t promote boxing to be famous, I do it so we can all benefit from it. I work hard to make sure boxing is a high profile, respected sport.”

  • Ian Tuckey

    WHITE: AJ MUST HIT HIM FOR SYKS

    Dillian Whyte reckons Anthony Joshua needs to make short work of Oleksandr Usyk to cement himself as a heavyweight gr-eight.

    The Body Snatcher, 33, has watched enough of ex-undisputed cruiserweight champ Usyk to know that Joshua needs to blow away the old 14st 4lbs king with heavyweight authority.

    Ahead of his own October 30 showdown with Otto Wallin, Whyte told SunSport: “Joshua is a 17st puncher, going in against a guy who can make 14st. He needs to knock him out impressively inside eight rounds — or anything else and it’s a bad night.

    “Usyk is a good technical boxer but he carries no power at heavyweight and Joshua should blow him out.”

    Whyte, who beat AJ in the amateurs but was stopped by him in seven brilliant pro rounds in 2015, is facing a tricky southpaw of his own in Wallin.

    The 6ft 6in Swede slashed 47 stitches into Tyson Fury’s eye in 2019 before losing on points.

    And with a lack of unorthodox heavyweights around for sparring — and Usyk claiming all of AJ’s practice rounds will be wasted, as his style is unrepeatable — Whyte is keen to see how his fellow Brit handles only the second — and maybe first serious — southpaw of his pro career

    The Brixton ace explained: “The only southpaw AJ has boxed as a pro is Charles Martin, the worst heavyweight champion in history.

    “And he only turned up for a payday and lay down without throwing a punch."

  • Ian Tuckey

    THE JOKER IS ON U

    Oleksandr Usyk dressed as Batman villain The Joker to give Anthony Joshua one final fright before the fight but the champ isn’t even scared of King Kong, writes WALLY DOWNES JR.

    The 34-year-old Ukraine southpaw had already shaved his head and grown a handlebar moustache after being inspired by 17th century Cossack warriors.

    And he updated the look with a shockingly colourful suit and tie ensemble straight out of the Gotham gangster’s wardrobe.

    Credit: Getty

    The 18-0 ace combined his gap-toothed grin with a bright orange suit, a yellow waistcoat, a green shirt and a polka dot tie.

    But 31-year-old AJ, in his trademark black tracksuit, did not bat an eyelid at the comic-inspired clobber.

    And he warned Usyk he was facing a a student of the game who is laser focused on staying top of the class.

  • Ian Tuckey

    'FREAK' USYK DANGEROUS FOR AJ

    Tony Bellew has warned Anthony Joshua that Oleksandr Usyk is a ‘freak.’

    Usyk knocked Bellew out in Manchester in 2018, something the former fighter has not forgotten.

    Bellew said: “He hits enough to get your respect, it’s not like you’re just going to walk through him.

    “It’s not going to be that easy and he also sets traps that don’t allow you to do that. But you can hit his body and tire him as well.

    “You’ve got to make him engage mentally; he is so far ahead of everyone mentally in the game, he doesn’t tire.

    “I was amazed! I thought what I was doing to him in the fight was making him miss and then countering him, and I expected him to tire.

    “And the freak didn’t tire, he just kept getting stronger and stronger. Mate, he is unbelievable, I can’t emphasise enough how good he is.”

  • Ian Tuckey

    LEANER CAN BE MEANER

    Anthony Joshua has shrugged of worries over his new leaner shape.

    He said: "Let's look back – Razor Ruddock, Lennox Lewis, Mike Weaver, Ray Mercer. They all weighed about 100kg. 

    Credit: Getty

    "I'm no different to these guys and you lot all rave about how great they were.

    "But I'm no different – I'm actually closer to these guys. I've just tried to replicate how Emanuel Steward tried to train his champions.

    "I love watching great trainers and figuring out the best way to improve as a fighter and once I do that my body just takes form."

  • Ian Tuckey

    AJ EYES SLAM KRONK

    Anthony Joshua wants a Kronk-style KO win over Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday.

    The 31-year-old WBA, IBF and WBO champ has been studying the legendary Detroit gym and mastermind Manny Steward.

    The iconic sweatbox specialised in producing power-punching monsters like Thomas Hearns and Lennox Lewis.

    And AJ has swatted up on their trademark style in his bid to defend his titles in sensational fashion for 60,000 fans at Spurs.

    "I know what I'm going to do," he teased. "I just know – a knockout.

    "It's Kronk style. I've been watching a lot of certain things – I like Emanuel Steward's mindset. Obviously you have to do your ABCs but if you follow them you get to KO.

    "That's what I'm here to do – put on a spectacular show. People want to see knockouts. 

    "That's what we've got to deliver for the fans."

  • Ian Tuckey

    AJ FEELING SO PUP-BEAT

    Anthony Joshua reckons he has been like a young pup in the gym ahead of this dogfight.

    He said: "Like a dog or a baby I have been praised when I have done well and that makes me want to do more.

    "I practice and spar a lot so you are coming out to see me hit a live bodybag.

    "100 per cent the last place I would want to be is facing myself.

    Credit: Getty

    "I am not an easy touch for anyone.

    "I am here for a reason, I would not have got here so quickly without it."

    The colourful challenger kept his quotes far less exciting than his outfit, grinning: "I feel fine and look forward to the fight.

    "Every fighter makes history and me and Anthony will make another stat in history on Saturday night.

    "It will be something people remember forever. It will make history."

  • Ian Tuckey

    TOTTENHAM READY

    Tottenham's stadium has been transformed ahead of Anthony Joshua's clash with Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday night.

    The Brit goes head to head with the unbeaten Ukrainian in North London and the arena has undergone a major revamp ahead of the bout.

    AJ, 31, saw talks for his big fight with Tyson Fury collapse and now takes on No 1 contender Usyk instead.

    Tottenham Stadium transformed for Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk with pitch covered up and ring starting to take shape

    It is the first time boxing has been held at the £1BILLION arena.

    And Joshua's Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn took excited fans on a tour.

    He went live on Instagram and gave his followers a glimpse into the stadium.

    The pitch was totally covered by artificial flooring where the ring will sit surrounded by fans.

    Cranes and machinery were moving around where the grass usually is getting metal frameworks in place.

  • Ian Tuckey

    'BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE'

    Anthony Joshua says these are the "best days of my life" – but the fun stops on Saturday night against Oleksandr Usyk.

    Britain's heavyweight champ said: "I have had fun in camp, it has been demanding but it has been fun.

    "I don't fight good guys for respect, if you got me King Kong I would give it a go.

    "It's just my job, we are going to work and it's a blessing cos these are the best days of my life."

    The 6ft 6in powerhouse reckons he has been like a young pup in the gym ahead of this dogfight.

    He said: "Like a dog or a baby I have been praised when I have done well and that makes me want to do more.

    "I practice and spar a lot so you are coming out to see me hit a live bodybag.

    "100 per cent the last place I would want to be is facing myself. I am not an easy touch for anyone. I am here for a reason, I would not have got here so quickly without it."

  • Ian Tuckey

    THE JOKER IS ON U

    Oleksandr Usyk dressed as Batman villain The Joker to give Anthony Joshua one final fright before the fight but the champ isn't even scared of King Kong, writes WALLY DOWNES JR.

    The 34-year-old Ukraine southpaw had already shaved his head and grown a handlebar moustache after being inspired by 17th century Cossack warriors.

    And he updated the look with a shockingly colourful suit and tie ensemble straight out of the Gotham gangster's wardrobe.

    Credit: Getty

    The 18-0 ace combined his gap-toothed grin with a bright orange suit, a yellow waistcoat, a green shirt and a polka dot tie.

    But 31-year-old AJ, in his trademark black tracksuit, did not bat an eyelid at the comic-inspired clobber.

    And he warned Usyk he was facing a a student of the game who is laser focused on staying top of the class.

  • Ian Tuckey

    BELLEW: BEWARE USYK 'TRAPS'

    Tony Bellew has warned Anthony Joshua that Oleksandr Usyk is a ‘freak.’

    Usyk knocked Bellew out in Manchester in 2018, something the former fighter has not forgotten.

    Bellew said: “He hits enough to get your respect, it’s not like you’re just going to walk through him.

    “It’s not going to be that easy and he also sets traps that don’t allow you to do that. But you can hit his body and tire him as well.

    “You’ve got to make him engage mentally; he is so far ahead of everyone mentally in the game, he doesn’t tire.

    “I was amazed! I thought what I was doing to him in the fight was making him miss and then countering him, and I expected him to tire.

    “And the freak didn’t tire, he just kept getting stronger and stronger. Mate, he is unbelievable, I can’t emphasise enough how good he is.”

  • Giacomo Pisa

    'I AM NOT AN EASY TOUCH FOR ANYONE'

    Here's another recap of what AJ said a minute ago.

    He revealed: "Like a dog or a baby I have been praised when I have done well and that makes me want to do more.

    "I practice and spar a lot so you are coming out to see me hit a live bodybag.

    "100 per cent the last place I would want to be is facing myself.

    "I am not an easy touch for anyone.

    "I am here for a reason, I would not have got here so quickly without it."

  • Giacomo Pisa

    NOTHING BUT RESPECT

    There was an air of respect between the two fighters.

    And they were both quick to praise each other on their ability on what they have achieved.

    Getty Images
  • Giacomo Pisa

    STAREDOWN

    Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk face off before sharing a handshake.

  • Giacomo Pisa

    WILL IT GO TWELVE ROUNDS?

    Usyk says: "Nobody knows that.

    "Only god knows what the outcome will be."

    Talk about not giving much away.

  • Giacomo Pisa

    POWER DIFFERENCE

    Usyk also comments on whether his inferior size will be a factor.

    He says: "We'll see on Saturday what happens.

    "Because the power is not in the fact if somebody is big or small, it's in your spirit.

    "David was three times lighter than Goliath and that shows that it doesn't matter."

  • Giacomo Pisa

    USYK INTERVIEW

    Oleksandr is now speaking to Sky Sports about his 'Joker' outfit.

    He says: "Before the fight it's all about [putting on a] show.

    "People want to see [a] show, and that's when you do these things.

    "But when you go to the ring and you fight, it's just two guys having a fight."

  • Giacomo Pisa

    RECAP

    Here's a recap of what AJ said at the start of the press conference.

    Speaking about the beginning of his career, AJ said: "When I started boxing it was fun, because I was absolutely s*** when I started.

    "I'm still getting better, but I like the challenges because I'll train, come back three months later [and] I'll beat the guys up that where giving me problems.

    "I would fight, if I lost, I'd come back again.

    "So this fight gives me the opportunity to practice."

  • Giacomo Pisa

    HEAD TO HEAD

    AJ shows off some shadow boxing as the photographers take their place for the face off.

    Usyk looks so unbothered, in fact it looks like he's playing with a pen.

    Both men crack the slightest of smiles as they face off, before both faces return to almost steel like expressions.

    Suddenly it's got very tense!

    Then there's a nod from AJ as the pair break and they exchange a hand shake.

  • Giacomo Pisa

    CLOSING STATEMENT

    Eddie Hearn finishes by saying: "It doesn't get any bigger than this.

    "Do not miss it."

    Now the pair will go head to head!

  • Giacomo Pisa

    MORE FROM AJ

    Joshua says: "I'm not an easy fight for anyone.

    "I like fighting.

    "God has blessed me, he showed me the path to get in boxing."

    "I don't want to say too much, I'm here, I'm blessed, I'm happy and I appreciate everyone coming down."

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