11 months has passed since a fateful night at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, when the ultra-slick Usyk delivered a punch-perfect display to dominate a dazed and sluggish champion, who relinquished the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO belts after only his second professional defeat and first since being stunned by Andy Ruiz Jr on his US debut two years prior.
Joshua got his tactics badly wrong in north London, foolishly trying to outbox and outwit the skilled former undisputed cruiserweight king, who triumphed via unanimous decision with scores of 117–112, 116–112 and 115–113 and came within a whisker of achieving a deserved knockout.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist has since split from long-time trainer Rob McCracken and travelled in search of fresh inspiration, going to America and eventually linking up with former super-featherweight world champion Robert Garcia.
The popular and charismatic Usyk has endured a difficult time since his crowning achievement last September, returning to his native Ukraine earlier this year following the Russian invasion and taking up arms by joining a territorial defence battalion in Kiev.
He left back in March to prepare for his first title defence at heavyweight, a huge bout with colossal stakes that has been dubbed as the ‘Rage on the Red Sea’.
Usyk vs Joshua 2 date, start time, venue and ring walks
Usyk vs Joshua 2 takes place on Saturday, August 20, 2022 at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The undercard fights are due to begin at 6pm BST UK time, which is 8pm in Jeddah. The ring walks for the main event should be around 10:30pm BST, with a precise estimated start time of 10:54pm. As ever, those times are subject to change.
Usyk vs Joshua 2 fight card/undercard in full
Chief support in Saudi comes with two final eliminators, with unbeaten Croatian Filip Hrgovic battling China’s Zhilei Zhang for the right to compete for the IBF heavyweight gold.
Liverpool’s former super-middleweight champion Callum Smith also continues his quest to become a two-weight world titlist as he takes on Frenchman Mathieu Bauderlique for a shot at the WBC light-heavyweight belt currently held by the fearsome unified champion at 168lbs, Artur Beterbiev.
Former two-divison world champion Badou Jack is also in action, as is the inspirational British-Somali fighter Ramla Ali.
Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua
Filip Hrgovic vs Zhilei Zhang
Callum Smith vs Mathieu Bauderlique
Badou Jack vs Richard Rivera
Ramla Ali vs Crystal Garcia Nova
Andrew Tabiti vs James Wilson
Daniel Lapin vs Jozef Jurko
Ziyad Almaayouf vs Jose Alatorre
How to watch Usyk vs Joshua 2
TV channel: In the UK, Joshua vs Usyk 2 is being broadcast live on Sky Sports Box Office at a cost of £26.95.
Live stream: Those who have purchased the fight can also watch it online via the Sky Sports Box Office app and website.
Live blog: You can also follow the entire card via Standard Sport’s rolling live blog on fight night.
Usyk vs Joshua 2 fight prediction
The stakes are simply massive here for Joshua, whose status among the heavyweight elite will be in severe peril if he suffers another defeat.
While there are plenty of big fights still to be had in the event he does lose, a Dillian Whyte rematch and Deontay Wilder clash immediately spring to mind, the chance to go on and compete in a massive, money-spinning undisputed showdown against Tyson Fury – who is once again insisting to be retired having relinquished The Ring belt, which is also up for grabs in Jeddah – would disappear.
Joshua knows he got his gameplan horrifically wrong last year, and is focused on using his superior size and strength from the off this time to slow and stun Usyk, lean hard and wear him down and potentially force a stoppage.
But durable southpaw Usyk – whom promoter Eddie Hearn has rightly labelled as a “genius” – is just so smooth, slick, speedy and awkward, with Joshua admitting that he finds such left-handers a “nightmare”.
While Joshua’s commitment to maximum aggression, unleashing his size and power early could well do the trick, he may also risk getting knocked out himself. Expect the Briton to give a better account of himself this time but likely go down firing.
We’re backing Usyk to this time pull off the late stoppage he so nearly produced in London, having dragged his opponent into uncomfortable deep waters again.
Usyk vs Joshua 2 weigh-in results
The weigh-in for Saturday night’s card takes place on Friday afternoon. Check back in then for the results!
Usyk vs Joshua 2 betting odds
Usyk to win: 1/2
Joshua to win: 13/8
Usyk to win by decision/technical decision: 13/8
Usyk to win by KO, TKO or DQ: 2/1
Joshua to win by decision/technical decision: 15/2
Joshua to win by KO, TKO or DQ: 23/10
Odds via Betfair (subject to change).