Anthony Joshua has vowed to “deliver” at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday night after weighing in more than a stone heavier than Oleksandr Usyk on the eve of their world heavyweight title showdown.
There was an unusual amount of focus on the scales on Friday afternoon as, while there is no weight cap in boxing’s blue riband division, speculation has raged in recent weeks that Joshua has appeared leaner than usual.
But those verdicts proved unfounded as the WBA, IBF and WBO champion officially came in at 17st 1lb, only three-quarters of a pound lighter than his previous title defence against Kubrat Pulev last December.
Usyk, the former undisputed world cruiserweight champion, scaled a career-high 15st 8lbs – four pounds heavier than when he fought and beat Joshua’s compatriot Derek Chisora last October – at a public weigh-in at the O2 Arena.
Joshua told the assembled crowd afterwards: “What do we want on Saturday? We will deliver, we will deliver.”
As was the case 24 hours earlier at a cordial press conference, the two combatants had an intense stare down before polite smiles broke out with Joshua offering a fist bump before Usyk shook hands with his rival instead.
Each fighter then turned to face the media and crowd, taking turns to flex their muscles, Joshua pointing to Usyk, who then reciprocated in an incident-free occasion, the mutual respect between the pair clear to see.
As well as a sizeable weight advantage, Joshua will have the edge in height and reach and is favourite with bookmakers, but Usyk’s movement and overall technical skillset from an awkward southpaw stance have led many seasoned observers to conclude this will be a close contest.
Joshua said on Sky Sports afterwards: “Maybe if I’m fighting a shorter, stronger guy I might bulk up a bit, but I’ve got a good fighter with his legs, so I’m going to keep up with his footwork and hand speed and make sure I’m good right through for the duration.”
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