Anthony Joshua‘s long-awaited rematch against Oleksandr Usyk will be delayed until July after promoters Eddie Hearn and Alexander Krassyuk resumed talks over a new fight date, according to reports. The Brit lost his world heavyweight titles to Usyk when they traded blows for the first time back in September and will be desperate to avenge his latest defeat with a much-improved showing at the next time of asking.
Joshua and Usyk looked set to face each other for a second time in June after the latter was granted permission to leave war-torn Ukraine and begin his pre-fight training camp. However, the bout is now expected to be pushed back by nearly a month until July 23, according to Dan Rafael.
It is claimed that Usyk has only just started his preparations for the bout, which was originally set to take place on June 25. Hearn and Krassyuk are also said to be working on the site, with Saudi Arabia having been mentioned as a potential host.
The Saudi government have invested no shortage of money in sport in recent years in order to help build their reputation amid numerous human rights controversies. They signed a hugely expensive deal with Formula One to host the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix back in 2020, with the inaugural race being held on the streets of Jeddah towards the end of last season.
Joshua’s previous rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr also took place in the country almost three years ago, with the former reclaiming his heavyweight titles on points at the outdoor Diriyah Arena. It remains to be seen whether a return to Saudi Arabia will be on the cards over the coming months as Joshua looks to become a three-time world champion by avenging his prior defeat at the hands of Usyk.
It has been suggested that Joshua could decide to take a warm-up fight before facing Usyk once again, with the likes of Joe Joyce and Luis Ortiz having been mentioned as potential opponents. However, it seems as though he would have little time to do so with Hearn and Krassyuk targeting a fight against Usyk in July.
The Watford-born fighter has been in the gym since the turn of the year and will be looking to silence his doubters by overcoming Usyk to put things right when the pair finally trade blows once again in July. It seems as though he will be going in as the underdog, though, with Tyson Fury among those to have rubbished Joshua’s hopes of victory over the last few weeks.
“AJ’s a big old bodybuilder, he ain’t worth a carrot,” said Fury. “He [Usyk] fought a bodybuilder who’s not even a boxer and had a life-and-death [fight]. Until he fights a real fighting man you can’t call him a champion.
“Usyk will beat him [Joshua] in the rematch, yet again, because AJ’s a bum, he can’t fight. He’s been exposed. He’s a cross-fit bum and that’s all I want to say.”
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