Anthony Joshua considers one of Oleksander Usyk’s underexposed wins among his top performances.
When asked about Usyk’s resume recently, Joshua pointed to the former undisputed cruiserweight champion’s points victory over Mahammadrasul Majidov in the World Series of Boxing as one of the skillful southpaw’s most impressive outings. Usyk edged Azerbaijan’s Majidov in a five-round WSB bout that took place in March 2013 in Kiev, Ukraine, Usyk’s hometown.
Joshua barely lost on points to Majidov in the super heavyweight final at the International Boxing Association World Championships in October 2011. England’s Joshua, who won a gold medal almost 10 months later at the 2012 Summer Olympics, lost to Majidov by one point, 22-21.
That tournament took place in Baku, Azerbaijan, Majidov’s hometown.
Coincidentally, Usyk won the heavyweight gold medal at the 2011 AIBA World Championships. Usyk, also a gold medalist at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, defeated Azerbaijan’s Teymur Mammadov in the heavyweight final, 25-15.
Joshua, who will defend his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles versus Usyk on Saturday night in London, was more impressed by the way Usyk handled Majidov.
“For me, one of his best performances, I really liked the fight against Mahammadrasul Majidov in the WSB,” Joshua said after a recent training session. “I fought Majidov. He’s a very strong puncher. He gave me a standing count. He gave Usyk a standing count with a body shot. Usyk did well against him. I liked his skills a lot. For me, that was one of his best performances.”
Majidov, who won three amateur world championships from 2011-2013, didn’t make his pro debut until September 2019, two weeks before his 33rd birthday. The 2012 Olympic bronze medalist won his first three pro bouts by technical knockout, but Russia’s Andrey Fedosov upset him by first-round knockout April 17 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Fedosov dropped Majidov twice. Majidov suffered a significant injury to his right ankle while he fell to the canvas the first time.
He got up and tried to fend off Fedosov (32-3, 26 KOs), but Majidov couldn’t apply pressure to his right foot and he was knocked down again. Their fight lasted just one minute and 24 seconds.
Joshua, 31, and Usyk, 34, will headline a show Saturday night at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) is listed by the William Hill sports book as nearly a 3-1 favorite versus Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs).
DAZN will stream the Joshua-Usyk card in the United States and more than 200 additional countries. Their 12-round fight is the main event of a Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view show in the United Kingdom and Ireland (£24.95).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.