By Louis Devereux
Anthony Joshua lost his world title belts in London on Saturday night after being dominated and soundly beaten over 12 rounds by Ukrainian sensation Oleksander Usyk.
Whilst it may have come as a shock to some, many hardcore boxing fans saw this coming from a mile off. Usyk is the smaller of the two, but his footwork and boxing brain is on another level to Joshua’s, and he proved this when he comfortably outboxed the Brit in his own back yard.
Whilst all the focus deserves to be on Usyk (who is now probably the pound for pound best fighter in the world), you can’t help but wonder what comes next for Joshua.
There are no guarantees in sport, especially in heavyweight boxing where it seems the landscape changes on an almost daily basis, and six months ago Fury vs Joshua appeared to be just days from confirmation. As I’m writing this, however, it appears to be further away than ever.
Providing Tyson Fury beats Deontay Wilder in their upcoming trilogy fight on October 9 (which I’m sure he will), he remains undefeated and as such is miles above Joshua in the heavyweight pecking order.
Not only that, but the fight doesn’t have the appeal it used to because Usyk comfortably outboxed Joshua, meaning the all-British blockbuster has gone from a more or less 50/50, to Tyson Fury being the overwhelming favourite in everyone’s books.
Fury vs Usyk for all the belts would be a fascinating matchup
Fury and Usyk are currently the only world heavyweight champions, so in theory, they should eventually have to cross paths. Tyson Fury vs Oleksander Usyk for all the belts is a fascinating matchup that, until Usyk’s win on Saturday, hadn’t really been discussed before.
I suspect it would be a great watch for hardcore boxing fans, with the high IQ punch selection, nuanced footwork and angles, and constantly developing tactics creating a chess match that either man could win.
Unfortunately, this leaves Anthony Joshua out in the cold with no one to fight and no belts. My personal prediction is that he will rematch Usyk, but I also predict that he’ll lose the rematch and from that point, it’s anyone’s guess as to how, or if, he’ll bounce back.