Despite Usyk being the first boxer to hold all four major world championship belts (WBC, WBA, WBO, and IBF titles) at cruiserweight, few are backing him to defeat heavyweight AJ in London this Saturday.
We will be hoping the Brit does the biz and plays his part in lining up that career-defining battle of Britain with Tyson Fury, but let's take a moment to remember the insane single-punch knockdown he took from Wladimir Klitschko back in 2017.
Cast your minds back to the spring of 2017. AJ was slowly starting to become a recognised name to the British public, having beaten Dillian Whyte in a contentious fight where punches were thrown after the bell on more than one occasion, and both men spent time on the rope.
AJ went on to win the IBF title from Charles Martin and twice successfully defended it, but he was missing that big-name victory to take centre stage.
Meanwhile, Klitschko had lost his WBO and IBO titles to the enigmatic Fury and was frustrated by constant delays to the rematch. The rematch never happened as Fury vacated his newly won titles, allowing for the much anticipated Joshua vs Klitschko matchup, with all three belts on the line.
AJ went into the fight as a slight favourite in front of a record 90,000 crowd at Wembley Stadium on April 29, 2017. The opening four rounds were close, with both boxers cautious of their opponent's ability to end the bout with one punch. AJ began to overwhelm Klitschko with an onslaught of punches in the fifth, finally seating him on the canvas.
And then it happened.
Klitschko seemed to gain a second wind after his fifth-round knockdown, slowly working his way into control. He went on to deliver a thunderous over-the-top right hand in the sixth, which connected perfectly on AJ's chin.
AJ was shaken to the bones and fell to the canvas. The London crowd thought they were witnessing a fight too far for their local hero, and few were now giving him a chance of getting up, let alone coming back to be the victor.
AJ did get back to his feet, however, and despite several shaking moments during the rest of the round, he was saved by the bell.
He regained his footing in the following rounds, and having survived one of the most devastating heavyweight blows in recent times, he grew in confidence and regained control.
Joshua was soon on top with a raucous home crowd behind him. He powered Klitschko to the canvas twice before the referee stopped the fight and gave AJ his glory in the 11th round.
While some may be quick to point out that the 41-year-old Ukrainian knocked down AJ, it was one hell of a punch.
It may have proved Joshua can be knocked down with the right power punch, but it also shows he can get right back up again.News Now - Sport News