Saudi Arabia 'under discussion' to stage Joshua v Usyk rematch in late June

By Sports Desk March 29, 2022

Saudi Arabia could host Anthony Joshua's rematch with Oleksandr Usyk in late June, according to the Ukrainian's promoter Alexander Krassyuk.

Usyk outclassed Joshua to claim the WBA, WBO and IBF titles at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September, inflicting just a second professional defeat on his opponent.

Joshua activated his rematch clause, but plans for a second bout were thrown into doubt after Usyk returned to Ukraine to defend his homeland following the Russian invasion.

However, the 35-year-old Usyk confirmed last week he has started preparing for the rematch, which may be staged in the Middle East.

"Saudi is the place we are in discussions with at the moment," promoter Krassyuk told BBC Sport. "Late June is the date we are looking at. Nothing has been confirmed on paper. We are working on it."

Joshua has fought in Saudi Arabia once before when regaining his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles in a rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in Diriyah in December 2019.

Staging the bout in the Gulf kingdom would provoke controversy due to its human rights record, and Krassyuk has not ruled out another country being selected.

"There are other options. We take it step by step," Krassyuk added.

Saudi Arabia has hosted a number of high-profile sporting events in recent years, most recently the second grand prix of this year's Formula One campaign.

Sunday's race went ahead despite a missile attack on an oil depot around nine miles from the track during Friday's practice session.

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