ANTHONY JOSHUA’S heavyweight title rematch with Oleksandr Usyk has been provisionally set for Saturday, July 23rd.
Anthony Joshua has been warned that Oleksandr Usyk will be fighting for more than just world heavyweight belts when the pair clash in their long-awaited rematch. Last September, the Ukrainian left ‘AJ’ stunned when he outclassed him at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, taking a unanimous verdict and with it, his WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO titles.
The British fighter immediately triggered a rematch clause, and then later rejected a lucrative offer to step aside and allow Tyson Fury face Usyk instead in a unification bout. But the prospect of Joshua regaining his belts was then seemingly scuppered by Russian’s invasion of Ukraine.
Usyk, 35, joined other high-profile boxing figures, including Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, in taking arms to help defend his country. But in March, the southpaw was given special permission to leave the war and begin a training camp ahead of a second bout with Joshua.
The clash has been provisionally scheduled for July 23, with Saudi Arabia the favourite to host. However, an exact venue is yet to be confirmed, with promoters Alexander Krassyuk and Eddie Hearn still deep in negotiations.
And speaking to Rob Tebbut, K2 Promotions boss Krassyuk said Usyk would have more than just boxing fans behind him: “He is not fighting for himself,” he said. “He’s not fighting for glory or for fame. He’s not just fighting for his personal legacy. He’s fighting for the whole country. He’s fighting for the whole democratic world.”
Usyk, also a former undisputed cruiserweight world champion, has set up his own foundation to offer to support to those who have been affected in Ukraine by the Russian invasion, since the conflict began on February 24. And Krassyuk admitted his fighter knows he’ll be on a stage where he can send a positive message.
“The whole world is going to be sitting and watching this fight and whatever messages he sends to the world will definitely be accepted.” And he added a chunk of the champion’s earnings are set to go his fellow compatriots.
“A part of that we’re working now on a strategy to fund some extraordinary money to help Ukraine to help Ukrainian refugees, to help Ukrainian people survive and stay strong in these hard times,” explained Krassyuk.