Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 has a confirmed date and venue at last – the world heavyweight title showdown WILL take place in Saudi Arabia on Saturday August 20.
The rematch for the IBF, WBA and WBO belts will be staged in the coastal city of Jeddah, in what promoters are calling ‘Rage On The Red Sea’.
Joshua lost his titles to Usyk in their first meeting at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September – he was outboxed and ultimately outfought by the Ukrainian superstar in front of 67,000 frenzied locals.
Joshua underdog for Usyk rematch
Now AJ will start as the underdog as he bids to become a three-time world heavyweight champion, but he does have one good omen on his side. The last time he needed to regain his titles, following that upset loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in the summer of 2019, Joshua beat the American in a rematch again in Saudi Arabia.
The Usyk vs Joshua rematch was expected to take place much earlier in 2022, but was delayed when Usyk joined the Ukrainian army to defend his homeland after the invasion by Russia.
Usyk, speaking after the bout had been officially confirmed, said: “I have a goal, with the help of the Lord I will complete my mission!”
Rollercoaster ride for AJ
Joshua meanwhile said: “What a roller coaster journey, fighting for the Heavyweight Championship of the World for the 12th consecutive time.
“I won the belt, unified the division won another belt, lost the belts, became two-time Unified Heavyweight Champion and now have my date with history set to become three-time Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World. What an opportunity
“Fighting championship level back to back has had its pros and cons, but I decide every day to get stronger, to learn from my experiences and grow. A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter and I am the happiest and most motivated I have been.”
The build-up to the huge August 20 showdown will begin right away, with the two fighters set to come face to face on Tuesday (June 21) at a press conference in Jeddah to officially announce the fight.