September 25, 2022

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It’s now or never for Anthony Joshua. 

The former two-time heavyweight champion of the world is confronting his sporting mortality for the second time in his career.

For the second time, he’s retreated to Saudi Arabia to launch what he hopes to be his comeback performance, winning back his belts and continuing to cement his legacy.

This time though, he isn’t facing a man like Andy Ruiz, whose focus wavered and waistline expanded between bouts.

This time, he’s up against a pound-for-pound great in Oleksandr Usyk (19-0), a man of impeccable pedigree, who is fighting with the backing of an entire country under siege. 

The stakes will be high at the Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia, and not just because the winner will take home the WBA (Super), IBF and WBO belts, as well as the lesser IBO title and The Ring strap.

Should Joshua lose again, the British star will be a long way from being able to challenge for a world title again any time soon.

Anthony Joshua looks down
Anthony Joshua suffered a second defeat in four fights last time out. A third could be terminal for his chances of becoming champion again.(Getty Images: Julian Finney)

On the undercard in Jeddah, unbeaten Croatian fighter Filip Hrgović (14-0, 12KOs) meets China’s Zhilei Zhang (24-0-1, 19KOs) in an elimination bout for a shot at the IBF belt.

Then, in September, New Zealand’s Joseph Parker (30-2, 21KOs) — who took Joshua the distance for the first time in his career when they met back in 2018 — meets Britain’s new hope, Joe Joyce (14-0, 13KOs).

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