Usyk and Joshua fought last September with Usyk winning a clear-cut decision to become the IBF, IBO, WBA, and WBO heavyweight champion. After the fight, it was clear Joshua would trigger the immediate rematch clause and now his promoter in Hearn has given a major update on when and where the fight will take place.
“I think there’s a very good chance you’ll see that fight July 23 in the Middle East. We have had a number of offers from around the world. We have been working through those and we’re closing in on that option. Team Usyk have stressed that that’s the option they would prefer because obviously it’s a lot of money,” Hearn told IFL TV (via BoxingScene).
“Quite frankly I think Team Usyk would rather a neutral venue and I don’t blame them for that. So that’s where we’re at. Do we announce this week? Probably not,” Hearn continued. “But do we announce next week? Almost certainly. You will see that fight, you will see that fight in July and you’ll get an official announcement soon.”
Title fights in the Middle East is nothing new for boxing as they get a ton of money from the countries to have it there. Joshua recaptured his heavyweight titles against Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia, however, it likely won’t be Saudi Arabia this time. Joshua wanted it to be in the UK but it appears to be somewhere else in the Middle East.
“You’ve mentioned Saudi, it’s not definitely taking place there. We’ve had a number of offers from the Middle East. UK – obviously for the rematch is where AJ would prefer that fight to take place. But it’s so far out on the numbers. The US is a more lucrative site. But again you have to understand this fight is a financial split between Usyk and AJ,” Hearn said.
“We can’t just go to London because it’s a home advantage for AJ when you could be talking about two or three times more money to go elsewhere. Usyk doesn’t care if the fight’s in London. He’d prefer it probably not in the UK, but he would prefer to make the most money possible. AJ would like it in the UK but just wants the rematch. He’s boxed in the Middle East before, he’s obviously had a great win out there and if that’s where it’s gonna take place, no problem. So we’re finalizing that and July you will see that rematch.”
Who do you think will win the rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua?