By Charles Brown: Unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk says a venue for the rematch against former champion Anthony Joshua will be finalized in a few weeks at the end of June.
Saudi Arabia are reportedly being considered for staging Joshua’s rematch against Usyk II which is unlikely to make AJ promoter Eddie Hearn too happy.
Hearn prefers the second fight to happen on British soil again despite AJ’s loss to Usyk last September.
From Team Usyk’s perspective, it makes sense to stage the rematch at a venue that will bring in the most money rather than satisfying Joshua’s loyal fans.
Plus, it’s only fair that Usyk fights in a somewhat neutral place, given he beat Joshua last September in a one-sided 12-round unanimous decision at the Tottenham Hotspurs stadium in north London. , in England.
“In the next two weeks, we expect to finalize the details,“said promoter Alex Krassyuk to Sky Sports News at the venue of June’s rematch between unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua.
“End of June is also the time we are looking at now. The good thing is that Usyk is already in Europe to start his preparation.
Joshua fought in Saudi Arabia in December 2019, beating a horribly out of form Andy Ruiz Jr. to reclaim his IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight straps.
Interestingly, the crowd for the Joshua-Ruiz rematch in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia was largely pro-Joshua, cheering loudly every time he landed a shot.
You should expect to see the same pro-Joshua crowd for the rematch with Usyk, as AJ is a formidable global superstar.
The only way to have a true neutral crowd for the second fight would be to hold the rematch somewhere in Europe, where Usyk’s fan base is.
Joshua’s popularity is so high that it is almost impossible to stage the fight in a venue where the crowd would be divided in their support for both fighters.
If Joshua loses the rematch, his career could be over as it would be his third defeat in his last five games, signaling that things are not looking up for him.
Until two weeks ago, Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) was defending his country, Ukraine, against Russian invasion. However, Usyk opted to take the rematch with Joshua.
Prior to that, Hearn had wanted to set up an interim fight for Joshua against maybe Otto Wallin, Joe Joyce or Luis Ortiz.
Any of those fights would have been risky for Joshua, given the way he’s fared in his last four fights, and it’s a good thing for him that he no longer needs to. a warm-up contest.
There must be mixed feelings from Hearn and Joshua with Usyk’s decision to take the rematch in June.
On the one hand, they get their original wish for an immediate rematch to try to right the wrongs of the first fight with Usyk.
On the other hand, Joshua now faces the reality that his career could be over if he loses to Usyk in June, especially if he is knocked out in spectacular fashion.
There will be no coming back after a second loss to Usyk, and it looks like Joshua knows it. In hindsight, it was a mistake on Joshua’s part to activate the rematch clause to force a second fight with Usyk.
If Joshua were to just let Usyk go after his victory, he would likely lose all three of his heavyweight titles to WBC champion Tyson Fury, and the problem would be solved for AJ.
He could then have fought Fury, who he arguably faces better against, and possibly beat him. Joshua would have a better chance of beating Fury than Usyk due to the new brawling style he uses.