Oleksandr Usyk, challenger Anthony Joshua tip scales, ready for heavyweight boxing title rematch

Challenger Anthony Joshua on Friday weighed in at 244.5 pounds -- the heaviest he's been for a fight since June 2019 -- ahead of his unified heavyweight championship rematch Saturday against Oleksandr Usyk in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) tipped the scales at 221.5 pounds, a quarter-pound heavier than his first meeting against Joshua in September, when he dominated via unanimous decision to capture three titles.

Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) has packed on 4.5 pounds since then, and he's at his heaviest weight for a fight since he was upset by Andy Ruiz in June 2019.

The 32-year-old Englishman avenged that loss to Ruiz six months later in Saudi Arabia to reclaim his three titles. He'll look to do it once again against a far more formidable foe in Usyk.

After they stepped off the scale, Usyk and Joshua engaged in a lengthy stare that neither man was willing to break, but the challenger wasn't placing too much emphasis on prefight histrionics.

"Faceoffs don't win fights," said Joshua, ranked as ESPN's No. 4 heavyweight. "... All this stuff don't matter. It's just about the fight. Weight, faceoffs, none of it matters to me. Just looking forward to the fight."

Usyk, 35, ranked ESPN's No. 2 heavyweight and No. 6 pound-for-pound boxer, won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, as did Joshua. Usyk joined a territory defense battalion in Ukraine after Russia invaded, before he left to begin training camp.

"I am motivated by the people of Ukraine who are struggling hard to defend our independence, to defend our freedom and defend our culture," Usyk, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, said earlier this week. "I receive voice and video messages from them with words of support and news that they are praying for me and my victory. ... And that motivates me."