Oleksandr Usyk has left Ukraine to begin his training camp and Eddie Hearn has detailed Anthony Joshua’s reaction to the news their world heavyweight title rematch will happen in June
Anthony Joshua is “champing at the bit” now his world heavyweight title rematch with Oleksandr Usyk has finally been confirmed.
The rematch was in doubt when Usyk returned to his native Ukraine to volunteer to fight against the invading Russians. With the Russia advance stalled because of Ukraines stiff resistance, Usyk feels able to leave and begin his training camp for Joshua. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is in constant contact with Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk and says the fight will happen in June. Joshua had considering fighting Deontay Wilder or Joe Joyce if the rematch had fallen through and Hearn claims he was only ever wanted Usyk.
“He’s excited by the news, he’s over the moon,” said the Matchroom chief. “I saw him at the UFC and he wants to fight now. He was getting to a stage where he had to fight, and this has really forced the issue with Usyk because we said to them that we understood the situation, but we needed to know now.
“They said they would make their decision and this is their decision, he’s going for it. AJ’s over the moon. He turned down a lot of money not to step aside and then he might not have got the fight without any money. He just wants the fight and he just wants to fight.
“I was at the UFC with him and he was like ‘I just want to get in there’. The only fight that really gets him going is the chance to beat Usyk again. I spoke with Alex last night and we’ll speak again tonight. The plan now is to start working on a June fight. We’re doing it, it’s a goer.”
Hearn would like to stage the rematch back at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where Usyk upset Joshua in September to claim the WBA Super, IBF and WBO titles, and says there are also offers to fight in the US and Middle East. “We’ve had four or five offers from around the world,” he said. “It’s effectively a split fight so they’re going to want to know the offers that are coming in to stage the fight.
“We’d like to do it in the UK, but there have been a lot of big offers to stage it abroad. We’ve had offers from the Middle East, a couple of countries in the Middle East, America, the UK, yeah, so I think we have to sit down with Alex and say these are the offers we’ve had and which one do we move forward with.
“We want the fight to happen before the end of June, so probably middle-to-late June, the latest would be the first Saturday in July, July 2.” Hearn claims Joshua is settled with his new head trainer Angel Fernandez in Loughborough after splitting with Rob McCracken.
“He seems very happy at Loughborough,” he said. “He went there just as a trial and has been up there since, that’s quite a good sign. I’m sure there will be other additions to the team, but this was all about AJ feeling confident in his surroundings and he seems very happy there.”