11 months has now passed since their first clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, when the ultra-slick Usyk delivered a punch-perfect display to dominate a dazed and sluggish champion, who relinquished the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO belts after only his second professional defeat and first since being stunned by Andy Ruiz Jr on his US debut at Madison Square Garden two years previously.
Joshua got his tactics wholly wrong in north London, foolishly trying to outbox and outwit the skilled former undisputed cruiserweight king, who triumphed via unanimous decision with scores of 117–112, 116–112 and 115–113 and came within a whisker of achieving a deserved late knockout.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist has since split from long-time trainer Rob McCracken and travelled in search of fresh inspiration for arguably the biggest fight of his illustrious career to date, going to America and eventually linking up with former super-featherweight world champion Robert Garcia.
The popular and charismatic Usyk has endured a difficult time since his crowning achievement last September, returning to his native Ukraine earlier this year following the Russian invasion and taking up arms by joining a territorial defence battalion in Kyiv.
He left back in March to prepare for his first title defence at heavyweight, where he has only fought three times as a pro, a huge bout with enormous stakes that has been dubbed as the ‘Rage on the Red Sea’.
Usyk is rightly seen in his war-torn homeland as an ambassador for Ukrainian resistance overseas and says he plans to return to Kyiv later this year.
Joshua vs Usyk 2 date, start time, venue and ring walks
Joshua vs Usyk 2 takes place tonight, on Saturday, August 20, 2022, at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The undercard fights are due to begin at 6pm BST UK time, which is 8pm in Jeddah. The ring walks for the main event should be around 10:30pm BST, with a precise estimated start time of 10:54pm. As ever, those times are subject to change.
Joshua vs Usyk 2 fight card/undercard in full
Chief support in Saudi comes with two final eliminators, with unbeaten Croatian Filip Hrgovic battling China’s Zhilei Zhang for the right to compete for the IBF heavyweight gold.
Liverpool’s former super-middleweight champion Callum Smith also continues his quest to become a two-weight world titlist as he takes on Frenchman Mathieu Bauderlique for a shot at the WBC light-heavyweight belt currently held by the fearsome unified champion at 168lbs, Artur Beterbiev.
Former two-divison world champion Badou Jack is also in action, as is the inspirational British-Somali fighter Ramla Ali and Great Britain’s Olympic silver medalist from Tokyo 2020 Ben Whittaker, who makes his second pro appearance.
Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2
Filip Hrgovic vs Zhilei Zhang
Callum Smith vs Mathieu Bauderlique
Badou Jack vs Richard Rivera
Ziyad Almaayouf vs Jose Alatorre
Ramla Ali vs Crystal Garcia Nova
Andrew Tabiti vs James Wilson
Ben Whittaker vs Petar Nosic
Daniel Lapin vs Jozef Jurko
Rashed ‘Money Kicks’ Belhasa vs Traycho Georgiev
Bader Alsamreen vs Fuad Tarverdi
How to watch Joshua vs Usyk 2
TV channel: In the UK, Joshua vs Usyk 2 is being broadcast live on Sky Sports Box Office at a cost of £26.95.
Live stream: Those who have purchased the fight can also watch it online via the Sky Sports Box Office app and website.
Live blog: You can also follow the entire card via Standard Sport’s live blog tonight.
Joshua vs Usyk 2 fight prediction
The stakes are simply massive here for Joshua, whose status among the heavyweight elite will be in severe peril if he suffers another defeat.
While there are plenty of big fights still to be had in the event that he does lose, another Dillian Whyte clash and Deontay Wilder meeting immediately spring to mind, the chance to go on and compete in a massive, money-spinning undisputed showdown against Tyson Fury - who is once again insisting to be retired having relinquished The Ring belt, which is also up for grabs in Jeddah - would disappear.
Joshua knows he got his gameplan horrifically wrong last year, and is focused on using his superior size and strength from the off this time to slow and hurt Usyk, lean hard and wear him down and potentially force an early stoppage, having marked him up a fair deal in the first bout despite not landing much.
But durable southpaw Usyk - whom promoter Eddie Hearn has rightly labelled as a “genius” - is just so smooth, slick, speedy and awkward, with Joshua admitting that he finds such left-handers a “nightmare”.
While Joshua’s commitment to maximum aggression, unleashing his size and power early could well do the trick, he may also risk getting knocked out himself. Expect the Briton to give a better account of himself this time but likely go down firing.
We’re backing Usyk to this time pull off the late stoppage he so nearly produced in London, having dragged his opponent into uncomfortable deep waters again.
But Joshua, don’t forget, is the self-proclaimed ‘comeback king’, with Whyte and Ruiz Jr - the latter rematch taking place in Saudi, over in Riyadh - knowing all too well about his powers of recovery.
Joshua vs Usyk 2 weigh-in results
The weigh-in for Saturday night’s card took place on Friday afternoon, with Usyk springing something of a shock.
Much of the narrative during fight week had been centred on the champion’s apparent weight gain after dropping as much as 10kg back in Ukraine and now bulkier physique, but he tipped the scales at 221.5lbs - just a quarter-of-a-pound heavier than he was for the first fight. Some had previously claimed that he had gained as much as 15kg.
Joshua, meanwhile, was four-and-a-half pounds heavier than the first bout at 244.5lbs, which was to be expected given his plan of attack this time around.
Joshua vs Usyk 2 betting odds
Usyk to win: 4/9
Joshua to win: 13/8
Usyk to win by decision/technical decision: 2/1
Usyk to win by KO, TKO or DQ: 7/4
Joshua to win by decision/technical decision: 6/1
Joshua to win by KO, TKO or DQ: 11/4
Odds via Betfair (subject to change).