Will Oleksandr Usyk’s Southpaw Stance Trouble Anthony Joshua?

Published 09/25/2021, 4:01 AM EDT
Anthony Joshua looks towards referee Mike Griffin after being knocked down for the second time in the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships title fight against against Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden, New York. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)


Anthony Joshua is a heavy hitter and has several physical advantages over Oleksandr Usyk, which will benefit him in an in-ring affair. However, Usyk’s southpaw stance is something that can play a pivotal role in the fight. Despite being new to the heavyweight division, Oleksandr Usyk can look into his stance and craft a dooming fate for the three-belt unified champion Anthony Joshua.

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Although many people don’t see it as trouble for ‘AJ’, it actually is. Usyk is technically alarming and has been flawless in an 18-0 professional career. Hence, he has all the requisite skills to box at the top. Additionally, the southpaw stance will complement these skills, thereby giving him exactly what he needs to trouble ‘AJ’.

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However, it wouldn’t be an undemanding task as Anthony Joshua is a KO artist and one of the best heavyweights of the era.

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To understand Usyk’s advantages in the fight, one needs to be aware of how an orthodox and a southpaw play out with each other. Here’s how Usyk can counter Joshua and how ‘AJ’ can tackle it.

Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk – Orthodox vs Southpaw

As a power puncher, Joshua can look forward to coming in. However, not at the cost of overlooking Usyk’s left-hand jab. As orthodox boxers put their left leg in front, they can stop another orthodox’s left hand with their right. However, a southpaw advances more with a right, which creates several problems for an orthodox.

The natural stances leave an opening for southpaws to land their jabs. In the case of heavy exchanges, the southpaw gains sheer momentum with their right hand being very close to their opponents’ face. It will also be problematic for Joshua to use his left-hand jab since Usyk can counter it with a fatal left hook from his end.

While the opposites hold as well, southpaws are much more used to battling orthodox hitters than vice versa. Hence, Usyk should feel right at home against an orthodox.

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DIRIYAH, SAUDI ARABIA – DECEMBER 07: Anthony Joshua celebrates victory over Andy Ruiz Jr during the IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight Title Fight between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua during the Matchroom Boxing ‘Clash on the Dunes’ show at the Diriyah Season on December 07, 2019 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Now, looking at Joshua’s sole defeat against Andy Ruiz Jr., it came against an orthodox hitter who charged ‘AJ’ with nothing but power. Despite falling short in height, Ruiz Jr. poleaxed ‘AJ’. However, Usyk may not come out with that sort of power. But, if he can mix up power with his stance and movement, ‘AJ’ can see nightmares on the fight night.

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That said, it’s bizarre to write ‘AJ’ off from the fight, as champions aren’t affected by stance disadvantages. Furthermore, he would have trained especially for a southpaw throughout his fight camp. Hence, while the stance may be different from a large number of his opponents and may trouble him, Joshua should rely on his heavyweight experience and his skills to curb the threat.

Who do you think will win? Anthony Joshua or Oleksandr Usyk?

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Raj Sarkar

2521 articles

A senior boxing writer at EssentiallySports, Raj Sarkar is a mass media graduate who is currently pursuing his master’s degree in broadcast journalism. In addition to his current role, he has worked with the MMA team at EssentiallySports and has interviewed prominent fighters such as Ritu Phogat and 'The Red King' Rory MacDonald. He combined his bachelor's degree with his adoration for combat sports and has a combined 2000 plus bylines in MMA and boxing over the last two years.

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