Oleksandr Usyk plans to have "three more fights at the very most" before retiring, including a heavyweight unification bout with Tyson Fury.

The 35-year-old holds the WBA Super, IBF, WBO, IBO and The Ring heavyweight belts after defeating Anthony Joshua for a second time in last month's rematch.

Usyk's split-decision victory over Joshua in Saudi Arabia was supposed to clear the way for a unification bout with Fury for all the belts in the sport’s blue-riband division.

However, with Usyk ruling out a return to the ring this year, Fury is now in advanced talks with Joshua over a 'Battle of Britain' showdown in December.

Usyk is hopeful of facing Fury down the line, with super-middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez also on his list of targets before ending his career on home soil in Kyiv.

"I can have three more fights at the very most," Usyk said in an interview posted on his YouTube page. 

"It is the most realistic to be in my top form. With Fury, Canelo and a farewell fight at Olympiyskiy.

"With Canelo he said that he wanted to fight me. It would be a freak fight just for the sake of earning money.

"I only need to beat Fury and then it is time to retire for me. The unification of all the belts is much more important than just a fight or another defence.

"I want to outbox Fury and I don't want to work that much just for another defence. There is much more that I can achieve."

Canelo is the undisputed super-middleweight champion after claiming victory in the final fight in his trilogy with Gennady Golovkin in Las Vegas last weekend.

The weight disparity between Usyk and Canelo makes any bout difficult to arrange, but the latter confirmed last month he is interested in facing the Ukrainian.

"It's difficult but I don't care," he said. "I like that type of challenge. I don't care. It's going to be difficult I know, but I love boxing. I love being in that type of situation."

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez declared his mission for Saturday's trilogy fight with bitter rival Gennady Golovkin is to "finish him off" inside the distance.

After a split draw in their first fight five years ago, Canelo was declared the winner of their September 2018 rematch by a majority decision.

He edged a tight contest 115-113 on two of the judges' cards, with the other judge unable to split the fighters, while many observers thought Golovkin had been the superior fighter.

It means there is unfinished business heading into the long-awaited third fight, which, like the first two, will play out at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Golovkin, now 40 years of age, is a big underdog this time, while 32-year-old Canelo must handle the pressure of being the man expected to reign in the ring.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Canelo said: "I feel great, I'm ready for this weekend, so I can't wait. I'm very excited.

"I was very happy when I won the second fight because I knew I won the first fight, too, so I was really happy."

There is a real dislike between the fighters on a personal basis, with Mexican Canelo open about his disdain for Kazakh Golovkin.

"As a fighter, he's a great fighter, but as a person I don't like him," Canelo said.

The boxing website Boxrec rates Canelo as the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet, placing Golovkin ninth on that list.

Nothing would give Canelo more pleasure than being able to settle fight three against 'Triple G' without the need for judges this time.

By channelling his personal feelings towards Golovkin into his punching, Canelo is confident of getting the job done.

"It gives you that extra motivation of wanting to win, to go and finish him off basically," Canelo said. "That's what I've been training for and that's what I'm hoping to do on Saturday."

Golovkin carries a 42-1-1 pro career record into the fight, while Canelo is 57-2-2 after slipping up in a light-heavyweight clash with Dmitry Bivol in May, also at T-Mobile Arena.

He narrowly lost on points to his Russian opponent that day, after going up a weight, and is adamant the recent experience of defeat will not hinder him come bell time on Saturday.

"It gives me extra motivation to come back," Canelo said. "Sometimes in boxing you win or lose, but I'm going to come back stronger than ever.

"I did something that I didn't need to do, going up a division, I have no right to go up there, but that's what happens. I lost this, and I need to accept it like a man and come back stronger than ever, and that's what I'll be doing."

For the third, and presumably, the last time, Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin will share a ring on Saturday as they fight it out for super-middleweight glory in Las Vegas.

The trilogy tussle at the T-Mobile Arena has a lot to live up to after the previous battles between the pair, in 2017 and 2018.

Alvarez goes into this one as the firm favourite, with few giving the 40-year-old Golovkin much hope, but the tight nature of their previous fights could stir something in the Kazakh.

Ahead of the keenly anticipated showdown, Stats Perform has looked at the state of play in one of boxing's greatest modern-day rivalries.

The trilogy so far

If history is a guide, nobody should be surprised if fight three between these warriors goes the distance.

Both previous clashes, which were contested at middleweight, went all the way. The first ended in a split-decision draw, and the second went down as an Alvarez points win, albeit one that many called into question. Two of three judges gave him the win by a sliver, the other scoring it a draw.

So expect a sense of deja vu this weekend, not least because the fight is being held at the same venue that put on their first two clashes.

Alvarez was given a bizarrely lopsided 118-110 victory by one of the first fight's judges, while another scored it narrowly in Golovkin's favour, and the third as a draw, so perhaps this time the fighters will be eager to avoid any possible lottery on the scorecards.

A victory inside the distance for either man might be the most fitting way of bringing their rivalry to its conclusion.

What's happened since the rematch?

There was inevitably talk of a trilogy fight after Canelo got the better of Golovkin four years ago, but it took until May of this year for confirmation to come through.

Canelo has danced between the divisions, winning title fights at middleweight, super-middleweight and light heavyweight since he last encountered Golovkin in the ring.

Golovkin has fought just four times, and will hope that is sufficient preparation.

Unlike Canelo, he has a 100 per cent record from his fights in the last four years. Canelo was beaten on his last outing, losing to Dmitry Bivol on a unanimous, albeit tight verdict (115-113 with all three judges), when contesting the WBA light heavyweight belt.

Has anything changed in four years?

Ask yourself the same question. Of course, things change. We get older; past a certain point, perhaps we slow down a little; the pandemic put the brakes on most aspects of our lives, for a while at least.

It took a heavy toll on boxing, too, but Canelo and Golovkin have got the buzz back, and one thing that has not changed appears to be the enmity between them.

As Eddie Hearn, chairman of Matchroom Boxing, said on announcing the fight: "These are two men that bitterly dislike each other and want to end this incredible series with a blistering KO."

Canelo is still a young man, at 32, and he carries a 57-2-2 record into the fight, putting his WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO belts on the line.

Golovkin boasts a 42-1-1 career as he steps up to super-middleweight for the first time, but he is very much the veteran, the man that time is most likely to have caught up on since part two of this series.

According to Canelo, Golovkin has been taking on third-rate opponents to extend his career for this payday.

"A knockout, that's what I see," said a confident Canelo in June.

Some juicy shots are being thrown outside the ring, boiling up nicely for ring time.

Tyson Fury has set a one-week deadline for "suitors" to "come up with the money" to fight him.

Fury claimed before and after retaining his WBC world heavyweight title by stopping Dillian Whyte at Wembley in April that the all-British fight would be the last of his career.

Yet talked has turned to a unification bout between the 34-year-old and WBA, IBF and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk following the Ukrainian's second victory over Anthony Joshua on Saturday.

Usyk's promoter Alex Krassyuk said a fight with Fury is "in the making", while Fury's co-promoters Frank Warren and Bob Arum are also confident of doing a deal.

Fury on Wednesday urged the interested parties to put their money where their mouth is.

He posted on Instagram and Twitter: "Hi guys, for all these suitors out there that want to make the fight, I’m gonna give you all seven days, until the first of September, to come up with the money. If not, thank you vey much, it's been a blast, I'm retired."

Fury added in another video: "And also guys, forgot to say, all of them offers submitted, must be to my lawyer Robert Davies, in writing, with proof of funds. So let the games begin. Boom!"

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman this week said Fury has until Friday to make it clear whether he intends to fight again.

Fury stated in June that he would want £500million to come out of retirement.

Oleksandr Usyk's promoter Alex Krassyuk has said a much-anticipated fight with Tyson Fury for all four of the world heavyweight titles is "in the making".

Usyk was a split-decision victor in his rematch against Anthony Joshua on Saturday in Jeddah, retaining the WBA, IBF and WBO belts that he took off the same opponent at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last year.

It means that the Ukrainian would now just need the WBC belt to make him only the second fighter in the four-belt era behind Claressa Shields to become undisputed in two different weight classes, having already held all four titles in the cruiserweight division.

That WBC belt belongs to Fury, who has not been in the ring since April when he defended his strap by stopping Dillian Whyte with a brutal uppercut in the sixth round at Wembley.

Fury has since claimed to be retired, but it appears that he could be tempted back into the ring to face Usyk and crown an undisputed champion in the heavyweight division, after telling his Instagram followers he would "annihilate" both Usyk and Joshua following the conclusion of their rematch.

And Usyk's promoter Krassyuk is confident the fight between the two undefeated titleholders will happen, telling Sky Sports on Tuesday: "It's in the making."

Speaking on Monday, meanwhile, Fury's co-promoter Frank Warren also indicated he is confident of the Briton getting in the ring with Usyk.

"[Fury] and Usyk would be a really good fight," Warren told BBC Radio 5 Live. "It's a fight that I think will be made because both teams would like to see that happen.

"Usyk said after the fight that it's the only fight he's interested in, and it's certainly the same case with Tyson. It's just a matter of where it will generate the most income because it's a unique fight, a historic fight."

 

 

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman would welcome a unification bout between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk and believes such a fight could even take place before the end of the year.

Usyk produced a near-perfect display to record a split-decision victory over Anthony Joshua in Jeddah on Saturday, retaining the WBA, IBF and WBO belts he took from the Briton in London last year.

Having retained his undefeated professional record with a 20th victory in as many fights, Usyk declared his intention to fight Fury, saying: "I'm sure Tyson Fury isn't retired yet. I'm sure he wants to fight me. I want to fight him. If I'm not fighting Tyson Fury, I'm not fighting at all."

Fury has repeatedly flip-flopped on his boxing future, calling out Derek Chisora earlier this month before ruling out a return to the ring just three days later.

In the aftermath of Usyk's win over Joshua, however, Fury told his Instagram followers he would "annihilate" both fighters before declaring that the "Gypsy King is here to stay forever".

Sulaiman is excited by the prospect of Fury, who is unbeaten in 33 professional bouts, returning to face the Ukrainian.

"Tyson Fury is a unique man, his personality, his thinking is unique so I respect that, I respect him," Sulaiman told Sky Sports.

"He has been so loyal to the WBC, he has been so representative and proud of the WBC. I just hope that he makes the right decision, whichever it is.

"If he decides to hang up the gloves and retire, what a great way to do it, with money, with health, with his beautiful family.

"But if he has that hunger of going into the ring, which I believe is the case, it would be great to see him represent the WBC in a fight with Usyk or other championship fights he could have in the near future."

Sulaiman also revealed Fury has until Friday to confirm whether he intends to vacate the WBC heavyweight title after his latest retirement claims, and stated his belief fans may not have to wait long to see the two champions in action.

"Tyson Fury is the WBC champion of the world, he's not holding the 'other belt', he's holding the WBC championship, which is the championship of Muhammed Ali, George Foreman, [Joe] Frazier, [Mike] Tyson, Lennox Lewis etc," Sulaiman said.

"I'm very proud of Tyson Fury, he's a tremendous fighter and I am sure he wishes to continue boxing and a fight to unify all the championships in the division would be tremendous."

Sulaiman said Fury was free to make his own choice, adding: "But my personal opinion is that boxing is going through a great stage, a great moment, it will be great to see Fury against Usyk in the ultimate unification of the division.

"We are in August, there is still time to finalise and close up the year, or early next year."

Sulaiman said a tussle between Usyk and Fury at this stage in their careers would be "a momentous, huge event".

A heavyweight unification bout between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk "will be made", says promoter Frank Warren, who also did not discount the possibility of an all-British bout between Fury and Anthony Joshua.

Usyk retained his WBA, WBO and IBF titles, and also claimed the Ring Magazine belt with a split-decision victory over Joshua on Saturday to take his record to 20 professional bouts undefeated.

WBC champion Fury appeared to reaffirm his retiremenet ahead of the fight, but subsequently suggested promoters and fans "get [their] cheque book out" after the Ukrainian's win.

Warren, who handles Fury's bouts, has suggested the pair could square off next - and finally deliver the division's first undsputed champion since 1999.

"He and Usyk would be a really good fight," Warren told BBC Radio 5 Live. "It's a fight that I think will be made because both teams would like to see that happen."

Britain's Lennox Lewis beat Evander Holyfield to become the last undisputed heavyweight champion over two decades ago, but there has not been a bout with all four belts on the line since the WBO title was included in 2007.

"Usyk said after the fight that it's the only fight he's interested in, and it's certainly the same case with Tyson," Warren added.

"It's just a matter of where it will generate the most income because it's a unique fight, a historic fight.

"It's the first time for God knows how long that the four belts are on the line. Both fighters are undefeated. The whole world of boxing will be captivated by this fight."

Warren has also not ruled out seeing the long-awaited clash between Fury and Joshua, though the likelihood of such a fight following the latter's third defeat in his past five fights seems questionable.

Joshua first lost the WBA, WBO and IBF titles to Andy Ruiz Jr, though despite winning them back in the rematch, subsequently lost them to Usyk again last year.

The prospect of an all-British unification bout between Joshua and Fury was floated at multiple points during their reigns but ultimately never materialised, and Warren said Joshua will have to win some more fights before he can be considered a contender for Fury.

"If AJ manages to get a couple of wins under his belt - and I believe Tyson will beat Usyk - that may be a fight to be made," Warren added. "But AJ's got to re-establish himself before you can even think about fights like that."

"In comparison with war, boxing is child's play."

Those were the words uttered by Oleksandr Usyk in April after he left Ukraine's front line to prepare for the rematch against Anthony Joshua, which takes place in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Eleven months ago, Usyk placed himself on top of the boxing world with a stunning victory over Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium – where he dominated what was only his third fight at heavyweight level.

The aftermath saw talk of a unification bout against Tyson Fury, while questions were also raised as to whether Joshua would walk away, but both of those discussions were irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

In February, Russia stunned the world with the invasion of Ukraine and citizens took to the frontline to defend their nation, with Usyk travelling back to Kiev to fight.

Boxing, understandably, was far from the mind of Usyk, who told CNN: "I really don't know when I'm going to be stepping back in the ring. My country and my honour are more important to me than a championship belt."

Usyk will this weekend put his WBO, WBA Super, and IBF titles on the line against Joshua and shoulder the hopes of a nation who have had to cope with unthinkable trauma.

Sport, in situations like this, is largely irrelevant and few would criticise Usyk if he were to struggle in his rematch given the experiences he has endured – but he may find extra encouragement from Joshua's comments ahead of the bout.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Joshua described the months since he lost his belts to Usyk in north London as a "nightmare", words that may sting Usyk's camp given what has transpired away from the ring.

Many would suggest Usyk, having been the underdog in the initial bout and still with limited heavyweight experience, has nothing to lose – but he would be the first to argue that is not the case.

In terms of preparation, Usyk, like Joshua, has made significant adjustments and, having been at the lower-end of the heavyweight scale for the first clash has bulked up for the rematch, while the Brit has done the opposite.

Joshua had the weight, height and reach advantage for the first bout but did not put it into effect, with it clear after the opening five rounds that he was on the back foot and his best chance of winning was a knockout – but he never pushed for a stoppage.

Usyk, now displaying added bulk, may look to be more aggressive and to take the sort of chances that Joshua passed up back in September, though that is an approach he has not shown yet in the heavyweight division.

The champion's past two bouts have gone the distance and he earned unanimous decisions but, in the heavyweight game, it is a brave approach to look to stand firm, as just a single punch can change the picture entirely.

With additional weight behind him, Usyk should be able to hit Joshua harder this time around, but the full force of his strikes may well come from a different source – the support of his nation.

Promoter Alex Krassyuk told Sky Sports that Usyk travelled across Ukraine to visit high-ranking army officials, fans and injured combatants while supporting the resistance of the Russian invasion, where he received significant support and backing to return to the ring for the rematch.

"People want him to fight. People want him to win. They all want the Ukrainian flag to be risen and the Ukrainian anthem to be heard throughout the planet," he said.

That level of support can inspire Usyk when he faces a rejuvenated Joshua.

Anthony Joshua insists he will not be driven into retirement if he fails to defeat Oleksandr Usyk in his world heavyweight title rematch this Saturday.

Joshua, 32, suffered only the second defeat of his 26-fight professional career when he met Usyk for the first time last September, going down in a convincing unanimous decision to the talented Ukrainian.

While it was considered an upset, Usyk dominated the Brit in a masterclass to claim the IBF, WBA and WBO belts at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Usyk has built a 19-0 professional record, including a perfect 7-0 in cruiserweight world title fights before deciding to move up to heavyweight.

Joshua has shown his ability to respond to adversity before when he successfully reclaimed his belts from Andy Ruiz Jr after the Mexican had pulled off a stunning stoppage victory six months prior, with that rematch also taking place in Saudi Arabia.

The Englishman has dismissed suggestions he may have to quit if he fails to dethrone Usyk this weekend.

"It’s up to me at the end of the day, it’s not up to anyone else what I do with my career," he said. "I don’t have to do this. Why do I do it? It’s because it’s all I know.

"This is also my 12th consecutive world title fight. I’ve been in world title fights back-to-back 12 times. 

"It happens – if you’re fighting people at world level, you’re meeting people of world-level quality. I’m not fighting people who are below par."

Anthony Joshua admitted his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk is "must win" ahead of the fight on Saturday.

Joshua was surprisingly outclassed by Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September as the Ukrainian won the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles.

Usyk will defend his belts for the first time in a rematch this weekend with the Briton in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at the final press conference before their bout at the Shangri-La hotel in Jeddah, Joshua insisted he has to win, but felt confident after his camp with new trainers Robert Garcia and Angel Fernandez.

"That's it. Must win," Joshua said. "I like the pressure. It's been tough. Robert Garcia, Angel Fernandez, existing members of my previous team as well, definitely pushed me, challenged me. 

"Now we just get the job done. Instinct, stay focused, get the job done, God willing, victorious."

On his motivation for the fight, where he will face the unfamiliar role of challenger, Joshua said: "It's competition.

"I've got goals I want to achieve in the ring on the night. That's competition with myself. You've got to have a competitive spirit."

Usyk is aiming to repeat his impressive performance from the first fight, and seemed relaxed at the press conference, echoing what his opponent said about the importance of competition.

"We were born to compete for life, for belts, for everything. The one who does not compete does not live," Usyk said.

"All our lives are competition, for anything, for something, for somebody. That's why we are competing."

Either as a mind trick or simply to show how unfazed he was in general, as Joshua was leaving the stage following their face off, Usyk burst into song, joined by members of his team.

Oleksandr Usyk is determined to do his fellow Ukrainians proud when he faces Anthony Joshua on Saturday and vowed to help them in any way he can.

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

The 35-year-old will defend his belts for the first time in a rematch with the Briton in Saudi Arabia this weekend.

Usyk has been involved in a battle that is much bigger than any boxing fight since he became world champion, returning to his homeland to defend his country following Russia's invasion.

He has set up the Usyk Foundation to support humanitarian aid for Ukrainians in need of medical care, shelter and food.

Usyk has also ensured his second bout with Joshua in Jeddah will be free to watch for the people of his war-torn country and he hopes to put on a show for his compatriots.

"I want to help my people and my country and Saturday night is going to be a small party for them, maybe a big party," he told Sky Sports.

"I will do my best to give the best performance that I can.

"It's important because the war is taking place and we have to help people. Whether they need food, we supply them with food. Whether they need anything else, we have to help them.

"Because this is something that is happening in our hearts and our assignment is to keep positive and keep other people positive.

"I have a group of people who work hard to find families in need. Maybe they need some kind of house to live, some food to support, maybe some money to spend for their families.

"They are looking for these people, they are analysing what are their needs and they help in satisfying their needs. This is something that they do every day and this is something that will be done in the future because this is actually the mission of the foundation."

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."

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