Pick It: TBRB #1 Anthony Joshua vs. #10 Oleksandr Usyk (Saturday, DAZN, 1:00 PM EST)
Tri-belted heavyweight titlist. Former undisputed cruiserweight champion. What more do we really need? The 34-year old Usyk (18-0, 13 KO) hasn’t looked as good at heavyweight as he did on an excellent run through cruiserweight. Does the size matter or has Usyk simply not had someone in front of him to make him really work?
Joshua (24-1, 22 KO), 31, avenged his lone loss against Andy Ruiz and started to show better form again last year against Kubrat Pulev. In Usyk he has one of the most skilled and experienced opponents of his career. Does Joshua find a way to go through him or could we see a case where the bigger man’s lack of deep amateur pedigree exposes deficiencies we haven’t fully seen as yet. This fight could go a lot of ways. All of them are must see. The card will also feature a cruiserweight title defense for Lawrence Okolie and the return of former super middleweight titlist Callum Smith.
Additional Shows to Watch For
Friday - Williams vs. Vendetti (UFC Fight Pass, 7:00 PM EST)
Jr. middleweight action headlines here. 35-year old Jimmy Williams (18-5-2, 6 KO) has won two in a row and enters off a win over former titlist Yuri Foreman. Greg Vendetti (22-4-1, 12 KO) was last seen in a loss to Erislandy Lara where Vendetti managed to win a handful of rounds.
Friday - Molina vs. Raygoza (FiteTV, 8:00 PM EST)
Diehards with ten bucks to burn can catch more action here. 38-year old Carlos Molina (37-12-2, 12 KO) made noise once upon a time at Jr. middleweight but that was a few years back. Now competing at middleweight, Molina is coming off a game loss to Sam Eggington. Molina holds a decision win over 31-year old Juan Carlos Raygoza (17-17-3, 6 KO) and they’ll do it again here. Raygoza has lost two straight.
Friday - O’Quinn vs. Sanchez (Showtime, 10:30 PM EST)
Showtime’s investment at bantamweight over the last year has layered the division beyond the immense talent of Naoya Inoue. Friday the division takes center stage in this ShoBox tripleheader with 26-year old Jarico O’Quinn (14-0-1, 8 KO) tackling 24-year old Saul Sanchez (16-1, 9 KO). In support, viewers will get a clash of unbeaten featherweights as 21-year old Luis Nunez (11-0, 8 KO) faces Jayson Garnett (10-0, 5 KO) and Jr. lightweight action with unbeaten 28-year old Otar Eranosyan (9-0, 6 KO) faces 23-year old Alejandro Guerrero (12-1, 9 KO). Sounds like classic ShoBox programming from here.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org