Anthony Joshua

Eddie Hearn provides update on Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk rematch

Usyk has returned to Ukraine to help defend his country from Russian attacks, but Hearn is adamant nothing suggests a rematch with heavyweight rival Joshua will not go ahead

Eddie Hearn insists Anthony Joshua ‘s rematch with Oleksandr Usyk is still on course to go ahead despite the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The rematch was seemingly in jeopardy when unified heavyweight champion Usyk, who beat Joshua last September, returned to Ukraine to help defend his native country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine last week with the country’s interior ministry stating that 352 civilians have since been killed while more than 1600 more people have been wounded.

Joshua and Usyk’s second fight is being targeted to take place in May or June and Hearn revealed there is nothing to indicate the fight won’t go ahead.

“I keep getting this questioned and I feel a bit bad saying, as far as I’m concerned, we’re moving on with the fight,” he told Boxing UK.

Oleksandr Usyk outpointed Anthony Joshua last September

Oleksandr Usyk outpointed Anthony Joshua last September ( Image: Getty Images)

“No-one’s spoken to me from team Usyk to say ‘there could be a problem’. There’s bigger things on their plate right now I guess, quite frankly.

“We respect that, it’s an emotional time for those guys and that country. We’re preparing still for May or early June and I expect to finalise a date with Alex Krassyuk as planned over the next one or two weeks.”

Usyk has joined fellow Ukrainian boxer Vasyl Lomachenko and former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, who is the mayor of Kyiv, in defending his country.

Some fans accused Usyk of fleeing Ukraine last week when he attended a media event in Sheffield, something that the 35-year-old was quick to dismiss.

“Dear Ukraine and dear Ukrainians, some wrote about me running away. Not true, I had a work trip and now I’m back. I’m home,” Usyk said.

“Friends, we need to unite together and overcome this, because we are faced with exceptional difficulties.

“I’m very overcome with emotions and I’m very concerned for my country and for our people. Friends we must stop this war and we must do it together.”

Usyk wanted his rematch with Joshua to take place at the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv, but admitted the “unstabilised position” of his country means that will unlikely happen.

Their first fight took place in front of 70,000 fans at Wembley Stadium as Joshua lost his title for the second time in four fights.

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