|Venue: King Abdullah Sports City, Saudi Arabia Date: Saturday, 20 August|
|Coverage: Follow live text commentary and reaction on BBC Sport website & app from 21:30 BST.|
Britain’s Anthony Joshua weighed in 23lbs heavier than champion Oleksandr Usyk for Saturday’s heavyweight world title rematch in Saudi Arabia.
Ukrainian Usyk was tipped to come in at a career-heaviest weight, but just about matched the previous fight by weighing in at 15st 11lbs (100.5kg).
Joshua, 32, came in at 17st 6lbs (110.9kg) with neither man showing any sign of nerves in the final face-off.
Usyk’s WBA (Super), WBO and IBF titles are on the line in Jeddah.
He is fractionally heavier than his last fight with Joshua when he weighed in at 220lbs, while Joshua is about 4lbs heavier.
Joshua cut a focused figure during the weigh-in, and the two-time world champion insisted there was nothing to glean from the final staredown.
“All this stuff – weight, face-off – none of it matters to me. I’m just looking forward to the fight,” he said.
Usyk is destined to be a future hall-of-famer, but there are still critics who feel he is not a natural heavyweight and too small for the division. He has competed just three times at heavyweight.
Speculation on the 35-year-old’s weight had been rife throughout fight week, with former British world champion Amir Khan – who visited Usyk in Dubai earlier this month – suggesting he may have put on as much as 30lbs since the last fight.
“You see, your expectations not every time are met,” Usyk said.
‘Joshua looked nervous’ – Woodhall
Joshua is expected to be much more aggressive in the rematch after being convincingly outboxed by Usyk 11 months ago.
BBC 5 Live boxing analyst Richie Woodhall, who has spent time with Joshua in previous camps, was surprised to see added weight on the challenger.
“That just surprised me slightly,” he told BBC Sport.
“Clearly in the last contest Josh’s feet weren’t quick enough. Nowhere near quick enough. It’s common sense if you’re lighter you can move a little quicker.
“And he’s got to be quicker, he can’t box like last time. He’s got to move his feet into range with speed.”
With Usyk visibly brimming with confidence, even breaking out in song at Wednesday’s press conference, Woodhall felt Joshua looked apprehensive.
“I think Anthony Joshua looked a little bit nervous,” he said.
“Which I think is a good thing. I think he’s realised this is probably the most important fight of his career, because if he loses here there will be questions marks about where he goes.”
Analysis – Stage is set
After all the talk about Usyk’s weight, it was a bit of an anti-climax. I think we can all blame Amir Khan for that. Usyk tipped the scaled at pretty much the same as the first fight. We know what to expect from the champion; speed and utilising his ring craft.
Joshua’s weight gain is interesting. He was, as always, muscle bound. Although he says he is preparing for a 12-round contest, which is wise given his tendency to fatigue later in the fights, the general feeling is he will need a knockout to recapture the titles. Will those four and a half pounds give him that boost of power?
So often in the sport, the boxing world can read far too much into body language. There was a long, intense staredown which was eventually broken by a friendly fist bump from Joshua into Usyk’s midriff. There is no bad blood between these two men. But they are two immense competitors.
The workout was open to the public, but global broadcasters and press made up most of the attendance. You can’t help but feel a bit disappointed there is not a bigger stage for a fight of this stature, a unified heavyweight rematch between two superstars.
The next time these two go face-to-face will be in the ring, with Usyk channelling the spirit of his nation and Joshua determined to prove his worth as an elite heavyweight.