ON the eve of the biggest fight that will be staged in the UK this year, Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk took to the scales at the O2 Arena on Friday in front of a lively crowd of 4,000 supporters. The weigh in is just a taster of what awaits them in front of 60,000 fans at the Tottenham stadium tomorrow.

Usyk is a dangerous challenge for Joshua. The Ukrainian dominated at cruiserweight, the world champion in that division who beat all comers. Even though Joshua is the taller, rangier and more powerful athlete, Usyk presents a wholly different style to the opponents he has faced before. Usyk is mobile, elusive and a clever strategist.

Usyk weighed in today at 221¼lbs. This is his career heaviest, up from 217¼lbs in his last fight against Dereck Chisora, so the Ukrainian has continued to grow into this weight class. He needs the bulk to stand up to Joshua, but cannot compromise his agility too much with this weight gain. Regardless, size is undoubtedly on Joshua’s side.  He scaled 240lbs, clearly the bigger of the two. But this was by no means his career heaviest, that was when he was 254lbs for Carlos Takam back in 2017. In fact he was only three pounds heavier than when he outboxed Andy Ruiz in their rematch in 2019, a contest marked by Joshua’s use of his own footwork and mobility – an indication perhaps that boxing and moving, rather than a relentless all out assault, is going to be part of the Londoners gameplan. Until the first bell, we can only speculate as to how Joshua will approach what could be the most cerebral bout of his career so far.

“We will deliver,” Joshua promised the crowd. The next time he faces Usyk will be in the ring on Saturday.

Read the in depth Boxing News preview here.