Rage on the Red Sea preview and predictions

The most important fight of former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has arrived. Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing’s golden goose faces off
against Ukrainian pound-for-pound king Oleksander Usyk for the second time in two fights with only one thing on his mind, revenge. After being shocked and outboxed for 12 rounds, Anthony Joshua faces his most challenging task yet, regaining the belts he lost in September last year. With his career and legacy on the line, can Anthony Joshua upset the odds and regain the throne of the most famous division in all of boxing? The two headline a card filled with talent on
August 20th in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to see who reigns supreme will hold the IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles when the night is over. But first, let’s look at the “main” card and how I think those fights will play out.

Cruiserweight bout: Badou Jack (26-3-3) vs. Richard Rivera (21-0)

Following a three-fight skid that saw Badou Jack draw and then lose two consecutive fights, the former two-weight champion has been on an impressive run, racking up a four-fight win streak that sees him building himself up for one last run at the titles. The 37-year-old faces off against undefeated Richard Rivera, who is stepping up in competition for the biggest fight of his career. At 31, Rivera has slowly amassed an impressive undefeated record en route to this
fight. Having won his last four contests via stoppage, the younger undefeated fighter will be looking to pile on the pressure against the former champion. However, Badou Jack has shown no signs of slowing down, and his last performance indicates that Badou Jack is still a name to be reckoned with in the division. Looking to prove himself on one of the biggest stages of the year, my prediction is Badou Jack outclasses the unproven Rivera.

Official prediction: Badou Jack UD.


Light-heavyweight bout: Callum Smith (29-1) vs. Mathieu Bauderlique (22-1)

The light-heavyweight division is home to two of the most talented champions in boxing. It will take some fighter to dethrone either Arthur Beiterbiev or Dmitry Bivol, but that is exactly what Callum Smith is looking to do in this new weight class. The former super middleweight champion made his debut at light heavyweight with a devastating KO of Lenin Castillo on the undercard of the first AJ vs. Usyk fight. The Liverpool native looks to continue his unbeaten record at 175 pounds and looks to do so against Olympic bronze medalist Mathieu Bauderlique. The Frenchmen is unbeaten in 9 and is looking to follow up his European light heavyweight title against Callum Smith. A slick southpaw boxer, Bauderlique will most likely look to outbox Smith, while Smith no doubt wants another highlight reel KO. This is an intriguing fight at the light heavyweight division that will have title implications on the line for the victor.

Official Prediction: Callum Smith 4th round KO.

IBF Heavyweight eliminator: Filip Hrgovic (14-0) vs. Zhilei Zhang (24-0-1)

The co-main of this card sees an intriguing fight at the heavyweight division between two undefeated heavyweight sluggers. Both of these fighters have been slowly built up since signing for Matchroom. However, only one will come away with the victory tomorrow night when Zhilei “Big Bang” Zhang faces off against Croatian sensation Filip Hrgovic. This IBF eliminator bout may determine who’s next in line for the winner of the main event. Both fighters have a very good amateur background, having both won bronze medals at the Olympic games. Two heavy hitters who come into the ring to put the lights out of the competitor, this bout will no doubt be entertaining, with the nature of the heavyweight division always adding extra intrigue. While Zhilei Zhang may be the heavy underdog, the “Big Bang” has enough power to put anyone out cold. The 39-year-old Chinese powerhouse may just shock the world. His chin has been tested, and as far as I’m concerned, this fight is 50/50.

Official prediction: Zhilei Zhang late round KO.


IBF, IBO, WBF Heavyweight World title bout: Anthony Joshua (26-2) vs. Oleksandr Usyk (19-0)

The fight everybody is looking forward to, the rematch between former unified champion and longtime face of the heavyweight division, Anthony Joshua, against the man who dethroned him 11 months prior. This fight has the entirety of the boxing world talking. Can Anthony Joshua become a three-time champion, or is this the beginning of a long heavyweight reign for the former undisputed cruiserweight champion? Looking at their last fight, Usyk proved to be the far superior technical fighter. While Anthony Joshua got his shots in, he admitted he tried to outbox the boxer. Eddie Hearn has done many interviews stating that AJ’s strategy was bound to fail, and a switch in camp is what Joshua decided would be best for the rematch. Anthony Joshua has the power to take out anyone in the division, but he needs to pressure Usyk if he wants to find success. He needs to turn back the clock to Anthony Joshua, who knocked everyone out and feared no one. Oleksandr Usyk already has his path to victory. He proved in the last fight that he could easily outbox the Englishmen. This time, he’s out to stop him. Usyk had AJ hurt and wobbled late in the last fight, so there is no reason to believe that he can’t stop him this time around. The big elephant in the room with Usyk is what he’s been up to since the last fight. The conflict in Ukraine has been a key talking point for Usyk leading up to his fight. There seems to be an increased motivation and purpose to this fight for Usyk, and with his entire country watching, don’t expect the champion to be complacent. Both fighters know what they need to do to win, and it will come down to who can execute their game plan better.

Official prediction: Usyk late round stoppage.


This fight will have many glued to the screen for the duration will it be repeat or revenge? You can catch the fight live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK or on DAZN in the US and worldwide. The walkouts for the main event are said to be around 10.30pm BST/5.30 EST.

Running order of the card –

Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua (12 Rounds for the IBF, WBA Super, WBO, IBO and Ring Magazine Heavyweight Titles)

Filip Hrgovic vs. Zhilei Zhang (Final Eliminator for the IBF Heavyweight Title)

Callum Smith vs. Mathieu Bauderlique (Final Eliminator for the WBC Light-Heavyweight Title)

Badou Jack vs, Richard Rivera (Crusierweight)

Ziyad Almaayouf vs. Jose Alatorre (Super-Lightweight)

Ramla Ali vs. Crystal Garcia (Womens Super-Bantamweight)

Andrew Tabiti vs. James Wilson (Heavyweight)

Ben Whittaker vs. Petar Nosic (Light-Heavyweight)

Daniel Lapin vs. Jozef Jurko (Light-Heavyweight)

By: Ryan Gurewitz


Emmanuel Navarrete vs. Eduardo Baez


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