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Can Anthony Joshua afford defeat against Oleksandr Usyk?

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Anthony Joshua vs. Olexandr Usyk Matchroom Boxing

The DAZN Boxing Show discussed if Anthony Joshua must defeat Oleksandr Usyk to be considered a main heavyweight contender.

The Briton lost the IBF, WBA, and WBO belts back in September, with Joshua the favourite going into the clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

However, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion emerged as the winner with a dominant display and many observers expect him to defend his three world titles successfully in the rematch, which is expected to take place this August.

Joshua has already lost to Andy Ruiz Jr., but comfortably won the rematch in Saudi Arabia, and Akin ‘Ak’ Reyes thinks that durability has shown Joshua’s popularity will endure.

“This is a heavyweight boxer. Anthony Joshua is a star, even after that loss against Ruiz, we saw what happened. We saw how many people he brings to the ring against Usyk.

“The guy’s a star and he’s not going to lose his star power if he loses another fight. Obviously if he wins in the fight, it's better for his career moving forward. Of course it’s better if he wins.

“Anthony Joshua is becoming more and more popular in America.”

Barak Bess meanwhile believes that there is more pressure on Joshua to get the three belts back in the second fight with Usyk.

Barak said: “I think it is about the next fight, I think it is a big deal. I think every fight is important because in this business you gotta keep winning. Maybe you’re right a little bit - the heavyweight division is a little bit more forgiving, you can lose.

“I think it’s about being popular, like [Saul] Canelo [Alvarez]. I think that’s just how it is, come in there favourite and you lose, you come in favourite again [in the rematch], because people expect you to win. I like what he said: ‘I’m going to be providing knockouts.’  

“That the AJ we need to see, no matter who he fights.”

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