Boxing is one of the few sports that sportsbooks will put down odds for match-ups that haven’t yet become official. Even those that are deemed unlikely to happen might get some coverage from the betting companies.
From a betting perspective – and a sporting one – it’s quite interesting. As you are not only betting on the event, but on the possibility that it happens by a certain date. The odds can sometimes have some value, as massive amounts of money haven’t moved them yet. If the fight doesn’t take place by that date (usually by the end of the calendar year), the bookmaker should refund your money, but it’s always best to double check.
Regardless, the bigger (metaphorically) the boxer, the more likely you are to see betting markets for hypothetical fights. For Anthony, bookies have actually now set up betting markets for seven different fights over the next year. That’s almost unheard of, but it matched up with the intense speculation over Joshua’s next opponent before Andy Ruiz Jnr was confirmed and, to be frank, the directionless feeling of the heavyweight division right now. Below is a look at the odds for each one of those fights.
You’ll notice that Joshua is the betting favourite for each, but some of the odds are quite interesting.
- Joshua vs Luis Ortiz
Many will feel the bookies have erred in this one, with Joshua’s best odds only 1/8 with Betfred and Ortiz as high as 6/1 with Sky Bet. Those odds do a disservice to Ortiz, who can give a bit more trouble to the Brit than the price suggests. Money could move the markets slightly in the Cuban’s favour.
- Joshua vs Tyson Fury
This one is interesting as the bookies are all over the place, with Fury as high as 27/20 with Coral and odds-on with Paddy Power. The best price for Joshua is currently at 5/6 with Betfair. The fight would obviously be massive in the UK, and you should be able to get free bets and other promos from those listed sportsbooks.
- Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jnr
From Joshua’s tightest odds to the shortest, Ruiz Jnr is a big underdog at odds of 10/1 with Betfair. Joshua, meanwhile, is as low as 1/25. More markets will be added now the fight is confirmed, but a bet on Joshua here is perhaps only interesting to ‘heavyweight’ punters.
- Joshua vs Michael Hunter
Most bookies give Hunter more of a chance than Ruiz Jnr, but not by much. Hunter is given odds of 9/1 by William Hill, with Joshua priced in at 1/20. It feels like Hunter still needs a few more fights under his belt before punters take him seriously in this kind of bout.
- Joshua vs Dillian Whyte
Whyte has improved since his KO loss to Joshua four years ago in London. That’s been reflected in his odds of 11/4 with Coral. Joshua’s odds are 1/4. The fight certainly won’t happen this summer though, as Whyte has a date with Oscar Rivas in July.
- Joshua vs Deontay Wilder
The man most thought Joshua would be tackling in 2019. Sky Bet go 15/8 on the WBC heavyweight champion, with Joshua at 4/9. Data from Oddschecker shows that some punters are backing the draw at 28/1. That’s not a bad way to go, considering the controversial endings these big-money fights sometimes throw up.
- Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk
The last man on the list, Usyk has shown us lots at cruiserweight level, and has made no secret of his desire to conquer the heavyweight division. Sky Bet have given him odds of 7/2, with Joshua at 1/5. Expect the odds to tighten slightly if Usyk makes short work of Carlos Takam in his heavyweight debut.