Usyk confirms preparation for Joshua rematch

By Sports Desk March 25, 2022

Oleksandr Usyk has confirmed he is preparing for his rematch with Anthony Joshua despite having returned to Ukraine to defend his country.

Usyk outclassed Joshua to claim the WBA Super, WBO and IBF titles in a unanimous points decision at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.

Joshua activated his rematch clause, but the contest was initially thrown into doubt when it appeared a step-aside deal that would have allowed Usyk to face Tyson Fury instead was in place, but that reportedly fell through when money could not be agreed with Joshua's camp. 

There were further complications added when the Ukrainian fighter returned home following Russia's invasion.

However, Usyk took to Instagram on Friday to confirm the rematch will take place and that he is preparing, posting a video accompanied by the words: "I decided to start preparing for a rematch with Anthony Joshua, a large number of my friends support me, all the rest of the good and peace, Thank God for everything."

Promoter Eddie Hearn recently said Joshua could take an interim fight if he is made to wait for another bout with Usyk, but was confident the two would face each other at the end of June.

"I do think Usyk will take that fight next, we're looking at the end of June for that fight and that’s when the fight has got to take place by," Hearn said on the DAZN Boxing Show.

"If he's not ready, we'll push for an interim fight, but my gut feeling right now, and this could change is that you will be seeing Anthony Joshua v Oleksandr Usyk for the unified world heavyweight championship next."

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    Joe Joyce wants to fight the victor of Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk, or take on Tyson Fury, after handing a four-round defeat to Christian Hammer.

    The WBO number one contender cemented his place at the top of the pecking order for a big heavyweight clash after battering Hammer into submission at Wembley Arena on Saturday.

    Joyce, who won silver at the 2016 Olympic Games, delivered another technical knockout to maintain his unbeaten professional record of 14-0 - and is now ready to have a bright lights bout against the very best the heavyweight division has to offer.

    "What a performance, I enjoyed it so much," Joyce told Sky Sports. "I'm top level ready for the world stage.

    "I'm ready for all comers, and I'm looking to fight the winner of AJ-Usyk, maybe Tyson Fury. I'm at that level."

    The 36-year-old had not fought since last year as he recovered from a broken wrist, and could well have risked his shot at a major belt if he had lost to Hammer.

    "He was tough, he was game and he hit me with some good shots early on," Joyce said. "Especially because I haven't fought for so long I have to warm into the fight."

    Joshua and Usyk are set to go head-to-head in Jeddah next month, just under a year on from the latter's victory in London to claim the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles.

  • Veteran NFL RBs Adrian Peterson and Le'Veon Bell sign up for exhibition boxing bout Veteran NFL RBs Adrian Peterson and Le'Veon Bell sign up for exhibition boxing bout

    Adrian Peterson and Le'Veon Bell will swap the pads and helmets for gloves and shorts after agreeing to meet in an exhibition boxing match later this month.

    The veteran running backs are due to face off in the squared circle at Los Angeles' Crypto.com Arena on July 30.

    Bell, a three-time Pro Bowler, made the announcement on social media.

    "[And] it's official nothing else needs to be said, let's gooo," Bell, 30, posted on Twitter, accompanied with a poster promoting the bout.

    Peterson is not officially retired from the NFL but made just four appearances for the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks in the 2021 season.

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    Peterson ranks fifth on the NFL's career rushing yards list with 14,918 and is a seven-time Pro Bowler.

    Like Peterson, Bell has not officially hung up the cleats but has struggled to find a permanent home since leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018. Last season, he made eight appearances for the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    ESPN reported the fight will take place on the undercard of Social Gloves 2, an event promoted by YouTube star Austin McBroom.

  • 'Desperate' Joshua plans 'less talk, more action' before Usyk rematch 'Desperate' Joshua plans 'less talk, more action' before Usyk rematch

    Anthony Joshua acknowledges he is "desperate" to beat Oleksandr Usyk and reclaim his WBA, IBF and WBO titles but would rather do his talking in the ring.

    Joshua has booked a rematch against Usyk for August 20 in Jeddah, having suffered only the second defeat of his professional career against the Ukrainian last year.

    In a news conference on Wednesday, Joshua spoke of the benefits of having the first fight to look back on but described facing a southpaw like Usyk as "a nightmare".

    And "every fight is different", the British heavyweight added; Usyk agreed, vowing: "I do understand that [Joshua] is going to be different – so will I."

    This was perhaps unlike many boxing media briefings, with a relative lack of ego on show as Joshua focused on delivering a result while Usyk dismissed the significance of becoming "the greatest".

    "I'm definitely desperate to get my hands on [the titles]," Joshua said, but he added: "Less talk, more action. Let me get in there and do my job.

    "I'm not a comedian, I'm not someone who writes speeches. I'm definitely hungry, definitely desperate, but at the end of the day, how I perform will speak volumes to the masses."

    In the opposite corner, Usyk – wearing a t-shirt in the colours of the Ukraine flag, bearing the message, "colours of freedom" – is not interested in appealing to the masses.

    "I'm not fighting for money or recognition," he said. "I don't need this. I don't need to become the greatest.

    "I'm just doing my job now and will continue doing it as long as my heart is beating. The only thing I'm on my way to is to save my soul. Everything else is just life."

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