Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk rematch date and venue ‘confirmed’
The rematch was in jeopardy after Usyk returned to Ukraine to help defend his country from a Russian invasion, but he will now fight Joshua for a second time in June
Anthony Joshua’s world title rematch with Oleksandr Usyk will take place in Saudi Arabia at the end of June, according to reports.
Joshua lost his heavyweight titles to former cruiserweight king Usyk last September. A rematch between the pair has been sought ever since, but it was recently put in jeopardy after Usyk returned to Ukraine to help fight against Russian attacks in the country.
Matchroom Boxing boss Eddie Hearn insisted that the rematch would still take place despite the ongoing crisis. Their second fight looked to be heading to London with Wembley and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium being potential candidates to host the bout.
But Saudi Arabia has now forked out a reported £90million to host the rematch with June 25 being the frontrunner date, as claims MailOnline. The price tag for the fight is a third more than the £60million Saudi paid for Joshua’s rematch with Andy Ruiz in 2019.
Both fighters recently hinted the rematch would go ahead, with Usyk writing on Instagram: “I decided to start preparing for a rematch with Anthony Joshua. A large number of my friends support me, all the rest of the good and peace, Thank God for everything.”
Usyk’s training announcement came just three weeks after he put a rematch against Joshua in doubt by stating: “I really don’t know when I’m going to be stepping back in the ring. My country and my honour are more important to me than a championship belt.”
Joshua has good memories of competing in the Middle Eastern country, having won back his titles against Ruiz in Diriyah. ‘AJ’ lost his unified titles to short-notice replacement Ruiz six months before their rematch in a huge upset.
Joshua will look to become just the sixth three-time heavyweight champion in boxing history by avenging his loss to Usyk. The Brit has promoted assistant coach Angel Fernandez to his head trainer after being encouraged to ditch longtime coach Rob McCracken after losing to Usyk.
He had been pictured in Dubai training with Anthony Wilson and in the US training with the likes of Virgil Hunter and Ronnie Shields during his search for a new coach. Hearn also admitted he thought it was time for Joshua to “move on” from McCracken ahead of the rematch.
Joshua was being encouraged to step aside from his rematch against Usyk earlier this year to allow an undisputed fight between Tyson Fury and the Ukrainian. Talks of the undisputed clash fell through at the last minute and Fury will now fight WBC mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte next month.