Oleksandr Usyk has ensured his world heavyweight title rematch with Anthony Joshua this month will be free to watch for the people of war-torn Ukraine.

Usyk outclassed Joshua to win the WBO, WBA Super, and IBF titles at Tottenham Hotspur last September.

The 35-year-old will defend those straps for the first time in Saudi Arabia on August 20, when Joshua gets the chance to regain the belts.

Saudi organisers gifted the television rights for the bout to Usyk, who has enabled those who are able to watch in his homeland will not have to pay.

Alex Krassyuk, the world champion's promoter, told talkSPORT.com: "He intended to buy [the right], but received it [free] for Ukraine.

"He makes it free to watch via Megogo [streaming service], his YouTube channel and via state public TV ‘Suspilne’."

Usyk returned to Ukraine to defend his country following Russia's invasion of his country in February.

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."

Anthony Joshua labelled himself "the comeback king" as he faced up to Oleksandr Usyk ahead of their eagerly anticipated August rematch in Saudi Arabia.

While Joshua said he was confident of bouncing back from last September's unanimous decision reverse, Ukrainian Usyk pledged to give his home country some cheer through his boxing after returning to aid against the Russian invasion earlier this year.

Joshua will be bidding to reclaim the unified WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles on August 20, after falling to just the second defeat of his professional career against Usyk in London last year.

As the fighters looked ahead to their clash in Jeddah, Joshua said he was grateful for the opportunity to right the wrongs of his previous performance at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

"The great thing is I've got a second chance. What got me into boxing in the first place... when I was a youngster I got in a little bit of trouble every now and again, and I was blessed with a second chance and I found boxing," Joshua said.

"I took it with both hands. So if you know me and a lot of my story, you know I'm the comeback king. You can put me down, but it's difficult to keep me down.

"In the fight in September, I was wrong and he [Usyk] was right. Definitely the hunger is still there. Blips happen, things happen in life, but resilience, mental toughness and consistency will always prevail."

The pair's second bout was delayed by Usyk returning to Kyiv in March to help defend Ukraine against Russian forces.

The 35-year-old Usyk, who is unbeaten in 19 professional fights, hopes he can offer some happiness to his countrymen when he returns to the ring.

"As we all know we are not in the best condition at the moment back at home, but we are doing what we have to do," Usyk said.

"We are doing our job. Together with my team we are working hard to achieve our goals. I never made some very loud and bright speeches.

"All I did was I just worked hard in my training camp and in my gym. That's what I'm going to do until the date of the fight, and then I will enter the ring and will make you happy with my boxing."

Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua's rematch has been confirmed for August in Saudi Arabia, with three heavyweight titles on the line.

The bout in Saudi Arabia, which will take place on August 20, comes 11 months after Ukrainian Usyk defeated Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London to secure the WBA, WBC and IBF heavyweight titles.

Joshua possessed a rematch clause in his contract but there were initially some question marks as to whether he would activate his option or step aside to allow Usyk to face off against Tyson Fury in a heavyweight unification bout.

Further delays then occurred following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with Usyk returning to Kyiv to help defend his nation's capital.

Dubbed the 'Rage on the Red Sea', Joshua's bout with Usyk in Jeddah comes almost three years since he reclaimed his heavyweight belts with victory against Andy Ruiz Jr, who had inflicted a first career defeat upon the Briton.

Joshua's record now stands at 24-2 with 22 knockouts, while Usyk took his record to 19-0 with 13 knockouts with victory against the Brit.

The bout will be Joshua's 12th-consecutive heavyweight title fight and he lay down the gauntlet ahead of the August clash.

"What a roller coaster journey, fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world for the 12th consecutive time," he said.

"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."

Usyk's camp referenced the ongoing struggles in Ukraine following the announcement, with promoter Alexander Krassyuk saying: "The rematch is on the way. The fight will be much bigger and more spectacular than the first. It is new history in the making. 

"Being a part of this event is a huge honour. Our country is now fighting for its heritage. Our mission is to expand its legacy. With the help of the Lord we will achieve this."

Anthony Joshua is "more confident" than ever and has signed the paperwork for his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk, according to the Briton's promoter Eddie Hearn.

Usyk dominated Joshua to claim the WBA Super, WBO and IBF titles at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September, condemning the 32-year-old to a second professional defeat.

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, Usyk has started preparing for the rematch in April, with the bout set to take place in Saudi Arabia, with the Ukrainian's promoter Oleksandr Krasyuk suggesting the clash will take place in August.

After a lengthy delay for confirmation of the fight, Hearn said on Saturday that the paperwork for the clash has been signed and a formal announcement will come next week.

"This fight is on and you will get an official announcement early next week," Hearn told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"[AJ] understands that in a fight of this magnitude, things do take time. It's taken time but we're in a great place. He's been training throughout, so has Oleksandr Usyk.

"AJ is more confident than I've ever seen him going into a fight. We believe he's going to win the fight."

Devin Haney beat George Kambosos Jr in a unanimous points decision to become the first undisputed lightweight boxing champion in 32 years.

Haney handed his Australian opponent his first professional defeat in front of over 40,000 fans at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne as he added Kambosos' WBA (Super), IBF and WBO titles to his WBC belt.

The American remains undefeated on 28-0 (15 KOs), and said after the fight it was a "dream come true".

All three judges at ringside scored the bout in favour of Haney, two by 116-112 and the other by 118-110.

Haney becomes the eighth boxer in history to hold all four titles at the same time, and the first lightweight to do so since Pernell Whitaker in 1990.

Following his history-making performance, Haney said: "I was comfortable. I was sticking to the game plan.

"The game plan was to go in and hit and not get hit, and I did that for the majority of the fight.

"I took the last round off because I knew I was comfortably ahead, but I fought a good, smart fight."

Kambosos was understanding in defeat, but said he wants a rematch down the line and indicated he will learn from mistakes made in this contest.

"I want to take the best test, the hardest test and I'm going to give him full respect for his victory and let him have his time," the 28-year-old said.

"We'll do it again. I have to implement a few things but I thought the fight was very close."

Conor McGregor has pledged to return to boxing in the future as he steps up his recovery from a broken leg, but he plans on making a UFC comeback first.

McGregor has not competed since his TKO loss to Dustin Poirier in UFC last July, when the 33-year-old broke the tibia and fibula bones in his left leg.

The Irish fighter, who has a 22-6-0 MMA record, was tipped by UFC president Dana White in March to make his return from injury later this year.

McGregor also made his only appearance in a boxing ring to date back in 2017, losing to Floyd Mayweather Junior by virtue of TKO, but is keen to box again when fit to do so.

While attending qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, McGregor insisted boxing fans would see more of him when he reaches full fitness.

"Boxing is my first love in combat sports. I had such a great time the last time I was out there," he told Sky Sports on Saturday.

"Obviously, my return will be in the octagon for UFC – that story is from over, in fact it's just being written, it is just the beginning.

"But, boxing, for sure I will grace the squared circle again in the future.

"The body is doing good. We are going to up the training bit by bit. I have another CT scan in the coming days, and then I will be clear to kick. Once I can kick and grapple, I will be back in no time.

"Boxing training is going well, [and] strength training. I am excited to get back."

Meanwhile, McGregor suggested Anthony Joshua will struggle to regain his belts in his upcoming rematch with Oleksandr Usyk, due to the strength of the heavyweight division.

Joshua lost his WBA, WBO, and IBF titles to the Ukrainian last September, and a date and venue for the duo's next bout is expected to be fixed in the near future after Usyk began preparing for the match.

"It didn't go so well the last time. It's a tough ask," he said of Joshua's prospects.

"AJ is a good guy and I wish him well. Usyk is a great guy as well and I hope for a good bout for both men. The heavyweight division is on fire at the minute. Good things are happening."

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez accepted the result of his unanimous decision defeat to Dmitry Bivol, hailing his opponent as a "great champion" after just the second loss of his career.

The Mexican came up short of claiming the WBA light heavyweight title in Las Vegas on Saturday against the Russian, who won 115-113 on all three scorecards after a 12-round bout.

His only other defeat in 61 fights coming against Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2013, Alvarez was left in an unfamiliar position.

But speaking afterwards, the 31-year-old was congratulatory of Bivol, while vowing to bounce back even stronger down the line.

"You have to accept it, it's boxing," Alvarez said. "He's a great champion. Sometimes in boxing you win and lose and I'm not giving excuses. I lost and he won."

On the possibility of whether he desired a rematch, he added: "Yeah, of course I do. "This doesn't end like this."

"This doesn't end in this way, I'm a very competitive person, I've got many years ahead of me, and I'm gonna come back stronger.

“We want the rematch, and we want to do much better in the rematch. I'm very proud and competitive. I've gone up and fought at 175lbs.

"I've gone out of my comfort zone to fight at a weight that's not mine, there's no shame in that. I'm looking for challenges that others would be scared to take on because they might lose.”

Alvarez's loss means he now moves to 57-2-2, while Bivol extends his unbeaten record to 20-0.

Dmitry Bivol won in a unanimous decision over Canelo Alvarez to retain his WBA light heavyweight title in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Using his height and longer reach to his advantage, the Kyrgyz-born Russian landed the cleaner and harder shots against Alvarez in a clinical display.

All three judges handed down scores of 115-113 in Bivol's favour despite what was largely a non-competitive fight.

Alvarez confirmed he would exercise his rematch clause and Bivol took no issue, believing the win solidifies his status in the division.

"No problem," Bivol said via translator post-fight. "I took this fight because I just wanted to get the opportunity and I appreciate this opportunity.

"I didn't fight for anything except getting the fight.

"I'm ready for the rematch, I just want to make sure that I can be treated like the champion now."

Bivol moved to 20-0 with his ninth consecutive title defence, while it marks the second official defeat of Alvarez's career in his return to light heavyweight following 2013's majority-decision loss to Floyd Mayweather.

Dmitry Bivol accepts he may not win any popularity contests in Las Vegas on Saturday night, but the Russian believes he can triumph in the ring against Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.

The WBA light heavyweight belt will be on the line at the T-Mobile Arena when the fighters, both 31, go head to head in Sin City.

Mexican superstar Canelo (57-1-2) can expect strong support, while Bivol may find it in short supply.

This is a fight that some feel should not be happening, with Wladimir Klitschko having told the BBC in March that Bivol should be "forbidden from fighting in America", due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Klitschko's brother, Vitali, is mayor of Kyiv.

The WBC, IBF and IBO have said they will not sanction fights that feature boxers from Russia or Belarus, but the WBA is not taking the same stance.

Even without that factor hanging over the fight, Bivol would reasonably expect Canelo to have comfortably the greater support this weekend, given his status as a regular Vegas venue filler.

Bivol (19-0) is a 31-year-old who aligns himself just as closely to Kyrgyzstan as he does to Russia, and he is the belt holder.

While Canelo is dominant at super middleweight, stepping up from the 168lbs division to 175lbs brings with it its own challenges. He is targeting undisputed champion status in the division.

Canelo told Stats Perform: "I feel good, I feel great. Like always, I trained 100 per cent. I'm ready for Saturday.

"I feel I am at my best in 168lbs. But I'm always around 180lbs in my normal life. So I feel good. It's a challenge for me, but in this period I would love to be undisputed in 175lbs too."

Bivol will be taking on a fighter widely regarded as the pound-for-pound number one, so to beat Canelo would be the ultimate scalp.

"I don't think about whether I will be the best or something else, I just have to beat him," Bivol told Stats Perform. "I just believe in my skills, and we will see what will happens after, and then we will think about who's the best."

Should he prevail, Bivol will give greater thought about where that puts him in boxing's current pantheon.

"Of course it means I can be the best and I've realised my potential," he said. "That's what it means. We will be glad, but I don't think about the result now. I'm only thinking about the fight and not the result."

Canelo is expected to tackle Gennady Golovkin later in the year, completing a trilogy.

His status is such that Bivol is admiring of the Mexican, albeit determined to send him to the canvas. 

"He's the most popular of my opponents, I can 100 per cent say, this is one of the most known opponents," Bivol said.

BIvol is braced for the rare experience of not being a fight favourite on Saturday night, and said: "It's motivated me, and it's a new challenge for me."

Anthony Joshua's rematch with Oleksandr Usyk may yet be staged in the United Kingdom, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.

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, Usyk has now started preparing for the rematch, which his promoter Alexander Krassyuk recently revealed looked set to be staged in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking on Friday, though, Hearn said venues in the UK are still being considered, with an announcement due to be made later this month.

"We're in final negotiations for a couple of sites for either the end of June or early-to-mid-July," Hearn said. 

"I reckon within two weeks we'll have some news in terms of where that's going to be.

"An option is in the UK. The difference is, we don't really need negotiations with a venue in the UK, we just book it."

Anthony Joshua's rematch with Oleksandr Usyk is expected to have a date and venue finalised "within the next two weeks", according to the Ukrainian's promoter Alexander Krassyuk.

Usyk overcame Joshua to claim the WBA, WBO and IBF titles at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September, condemning the Briton to just his second professional defeat.

Joshua activated his rematch clause, but plans for a second clash were thrown into uncertainty after Usyk returned to Ukraine to defend his country amid the ongoing invasion by Russia.

However, the 35-year-old Usyk confirmed in March that he has started his preparations for the rematch, which Krassyuk suggested last week may be staged in Saudi Arabia in late June.

Usyk's promoter Krassyuk provided another update on Monday as he told Sky Sports: "Within the next two weeks we expect to finalise details."

Joshua regained his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles in a rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in December 2019 in Saudi Arabia and could be heading back for a second time as he looks to reclaim his belts.

However, Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn have suggested they are keen on the bout taking place in the United Kingdom again.

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.

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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