By: Sean Crose
The second go round between WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk and the man he won those belts from, Anthony Joshua, is officially a go. Once again, Joshua will find himself fighting to regain his titles inSaudi Arabia, as he did back in 2019 when he successfully won back the belts he lost to Andy Ruiz six month earlier. “One of the biggest Heavyweight rematches in the history of the sport,” Matchroom Boxing writes in a press release, “Usyk vs. Joshua 2, billed ‘Rage on the Red Sea’, will take place nearly three years on from the historic ‘Clash on the Dunes’ event at the Diriyah Arena that saw Joshua reclaim his Heavyweight crowns against Andy Ruiz Jr.”
Usyk soundly outboxed the popular Joshua last September, earning a judges decision as well as three world titles in the process. A rematch was immediately agreed upon by both parties, but Russia’s bold invasion of Usyk’s Ukainain homeland this past winter understandably put things on ice. Now, with the reported blessing of Ukraine’s powers that be, the undefeated Usyk is set to face Joshua once more. “I have a goal,” Usyk is quoted as saying, “with the help of the Lord I will complete my mission!”
For Joshua, the chance to redeem himself as unified champion once more is a welcome development. ” “What a roller coaster journey, fighting for the Heavyweight Championship of the World for the 12th consecutive time,” he’s quoted as saying. “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.”
Skill Challenge Entertainment honcho Prince Khalid bin Abdulaziz – one of the match’s organizers – is thrilled to have Joshua back fighting in his nation, this time at the Jeddah Super Dome. “This is another proud moment for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he states, “bringing the biggest rematch in global boxing to our great country. Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua are both brilliant champions with different stories, skills and styles and the whole world will watch them go head-to-head in the ring on August 20 – we look forward to welcoming them.”
Like bin Abdulaziz and Joshua himself, Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn is glad to see his fighter getting the chance to face Usyk again. “We are thrilled to get one of the biggest Heavyweight rematches in boxing history made,” he claims, “and give Anthony Joshua the chance to reclaim what he lost in London last September.” All Joshua has to do now is win – which will be no easy task against the skilled Usyk.
“Fighting championship level back to back has had its pros and cons,” the popular Londoner says, “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.”