Oleksandr Usyk & Anthony Joshua produced a gripping battle – but the Brit’s demand for a rematch does not capture the imagination

Oleksandr Usyk looks certain to be ordered to give Anthony Joshua a shot at regaining the heavyweight titles he lost to the Ukrainian boxing great on Saturday. Realistically, will there be any surprises second time around? Read Full Article at RT.com

Oleksandr Usyk & Anthony Joshua produced a gripping battle – but the Brit’s demand for a rematch does not capture the imagination

Oleksandr Usyk looks certain to be ordered to give Anthony Joshua a shot at regaining the heavyweight titles he lost to the Ukrainian boxing great on Saturday. Realistically, will there be any surprises second time around?

Fans hoped for it from an early stage. Anthony Joshua swung for it. Ultimately, though, the full-on right hand that would have smashed to smithereens the perplexing puzzle that Oleksandr Usyk had set him never materialized for the usurped heavyweight king, leaving the lingering question of whether he will ever solve the challenge that potentially lies ahead of him again early next year.

Joshua insists he wants that second fight. Perhaps it was pride speaking in the aftermath of a clobbering contest between two giants at the top of their game, although he sounded determined to head to the gym next week and begin plotting a way to win.

Maybe no other option than a return is feasible for Britain's most marketable boxer, with that extravagantly lucrative unification showdown with Tyson Fury now looking, at best, diminished in intrigue given the struggles he faced to break down a smaller tactician who is less decorated at the weight.

There is also the issue of how much value a rematch can offer. Usyk looked largely untroubled throughout the 12 rounds in London, even when Joshua gamely, dangerously applied pressure by repeatedly inching forward, which he had been keen to do from the first bell.

Joshua looked in danger of being entirely outclassed on the scorecards after the opening three rounds, coming back to prove his conditioning and bravery and stamp his personality and skills on the scrap by giving as good as he got and avoiding, despite his increasing desperation, being conclusively caught by one of his fellow Olympic gold medalist's usual clever traps.

AJ deserves considerable credit for that, although he is unlikely to receive it from those who have subscribed to Tyson Fury's emphatic view of him as a "big dosser" since his demolition by Andy Ruiz, nor from those unimpressed by his meandering press conference pronouncements and polished media profile.