Saturday, June 25, 2022

Date and location of Joshua vs Usyk 2 confirmed

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The rematch between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk will officially take place on August 20 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Usyk took the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles from Joshua in September, beating the Brit by unanimous decision at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

Now Joshua (24-2, 22 knockouts) will seek to avenge that loss and regain the belts, but to do so he must do something no fighter in Usyk’s pro career has ever done: beat the Ukrainian.

A rematch between the two was scheduled to take place in the spring, but Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) instead returned to his home country to help defend Ukraine against the ongoing Russian invasion.

The 35-year-old – the only man to be the undisputed cruiserweight champion of the four-belt era – eventually left Ukraine to start training for a second fight with Joshua, and that fight has now finally been announced.

Joshua, 32, and Usyk will clash in Saudi Arabia in what has been dubbed the “Rage on the Red Sea,” where “AJ” avenged the only other loss of his pro career.

The Olympic gold medalist suffered a shock KO loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019, losing the heavyweight belts he later dropped to Usyk. After that competition, held at New York’s Madison Square Garden and marking Joshua’s American debut, the Brit traveled to Riyadh in December of the same year. There he scored a unanimous win over Ruiz Jr., dethroning the Mexican and becoming a two-time world heavyweight champion.

“I now have my date with history to become a three-time unified heavyweight champion of the world,” Joshua said after confirming his rematch with Usyk. “What an opportunity. Fighting back-to-back at a championship level has had its pros and cons, but every day I choose to become stronger, learn from my experiences, and grow.

“A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter and I’m the happiest and most motivated I’ve ever been. Thank you to the organisers, to 258MGT, Matchroom Boxing and to all boxing fans around the world – with a special shout out to the Ukrainian fans who are going through a really tough time.”

Joshua’s longtime trainer Rob McCracken has pulled out of the 32-year-old’s camp ahead of the rematch with Usyk, with Angel Fernandez taking on greater responsibility in AJ’s coaching structure and Robert Garcia also coming on board.

Neither Joshua nor Usyk, also an Olympic gold medalist, have competed in the ring since they first met. It’s possible the winner of the rematch will take on Tyson Fury to crown an undisputed heavyweight champion, although the ‘Gypsy King’ has indicated he will not fight again.

Fury, 33, last stepped into the ring in April, knocking out compatriot Dillian Whyte at London’s Wembley Stadium to retain the WBC heavyweight belt. While the undefeated Fury claims to be retired, he has yet to give up his title.

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