OLEKSANDR USYK will start training for his rematch with Anthony Joshua, likely to take place in June of this year.
Ukraine’s Usyk had spectacularly outpointed Joshua last September to win the WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight belts. Joshua had triggered the clause in their contract to secure a rematch but those plans had to be put on hold when Russia invaded Ukraine and Usyk decided to return to his country and contribute to his homeland’s defence.
Choosing now to take on such a high profile heavyweight fight will also be a major platform to highlight the situation in his country and Usyk’s recent experiences. This, he believes, will be his next contribution to helping Ukraine.
“I decided to start preparing for a rematch with Anthony Joshua, a large number of my friends support me,” he said.
Joshua has changed his set up since the defeat. No longer training with long time coach Rob McCracken he’s now based his camp in Loughborough with Angel Fernandez, who had been one of his assistant coaches.
Joshua’s promoter is Eddie Hearn, who has taken the rest of Matchroom’s promotional stable to broadcaster DAZN. But Joshua is not part of this deal. His rematch with Usyk could still be on Sky Sports Box Office. Even though Sky are using Ben Shalom’s Boxxer as there regular promotional partner in the UK now, Hearn would still put together the Anthony Joshua bill with Matchroom fighters on the undercard.
Previously Hearn told Boxing News, “Had a great relationship with Sky, a good pay-per-view partner. DAZN are very aggressive, it would be a big acquisition for them. The relationship between Sky, DAZN and us doesn’t really come into it. You’ve got Matchroom Boxing events which are all exclusive on DAZN and then you’ve got Anthony Joshua. They’re two different hats that we wear. We don’t make a decision on AJ for the best interests of Matchroom. We make a decision on AJ for the best interests of him.”
“Negotiations are with Sky and not to do with Boxxer or Ben Shalom,” he added. “It would be our show. It would only be a Matchroom show.”