Oleksandr Usyk set for Anthony Joshua rematch in ‘February or March’ as champion eyes unification fight

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·2-min read
Oleksandr Usyk set for Anthony Joshua rematch in ‘February or March’ as champion eyes unification fight
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Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua’s rematch is likely to take place in “February or March” next year, the new world heavyweight champion’s promoter has confirmed.

Usyk defeated Joshua via a unanimous decision to win the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight belts following an exquisite performance at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Ukrainian is now a two-weight world champion after he became the undisputed champion of cruiserweight division in 2018 and has set his sights on achieving the same feat in the heavyweight class.

WBC champion Tyson Fury fights Deontay Wilder on 9 October and Usyk said at a homecoming press conference in Kiev on Tuesday that he would “very much” like to fight the winner in a unification bout.

But the 34-year-old will first have to fight Joshua for a second time as the Briton’s camp and promoter Eddie Hearn activated their rematch clause immediately after Saturday's bout.

“The approximate time that Eddie Hearn announced at the press conference after the fight, February-March, is indeed true,” Usyk’s promoter Oleksandr Krasyuk said.

"The rematch was written in our contract. When we were talking to Oleksandr about the rematch, he wasn't upset. On the contrary, he was happy.

"He was glad and said: 'Oh, cool! I will beat up Anthony twice!'"

Krasyuk, who was alongside Usyk at the joint press conference, then said as he looked across to the 34-year-old: “Or I shouldn’t tell them this?”

Usyk’s victory over Joshua has shaken up the heavyweight division and taken away the possibility of an all-British unification fight between Joshua and Fury from taking place next year.

Should Fury defeat Wilder in the third fight of the pair’s trilogy in Las Vegas to retain the WBC belt, Usyk would then face the prospect of taking on the ‘Gypsy King’ to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion in more than 20 years.

But while the undefeated Usyk said he would be interested in holding all four belts, he insisted he was only focussed on defeating Joshua for the second time.

“We can talk about the unification of all the belts only after Tyson Fury will have a boxing match against Deontay Wilder, and they determine the champion, and after our rematch with Anthony,” Usyk said.

“Of course, I would like very much to have this unification match.”

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