Announced: Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk on September 25th at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn hopes to fill the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London with 60,000 fans for the September 25th fight between IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk when they meet for their long-awaited clash.
Hearn insists Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) is fully focused 100% on the Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) fight, not on the match between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder be taking place on October 9th.
Joshua, 31, isn’t going to make the mistake of looking past Usyk and wind up losing as he did in his first fight with Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019.
AJ vs. Usyk will be shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN in the U.S.
Usyk, 34, is making his third fight at heavyweight since moving up from the cruiserweight division in 2019.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist and former undisputed cruiserweight world champion Usyk will be looking to pull off the upset against the much bigger 6’6″ 240+ lb Joshua on September 25th.
Usyk has bulked up recently in preparing for the Joshua fight, adding close to 20 lbs and looking much bigger than in his last fight in October.
He weighed 217 lbs in his clash with Derek Chisora, and he barely narrowly escaped with a 12 round split decision win.
Joshua only focusing on Usyk
“Right now, the absolute focus is on Oleksandr Usyk,” said Hearn to iFL TV. “This is a very tough fight. The complacency has been there before; the mistakes have been there before.
“This is a fight where if we don’t execute our game plan, we can lose this fight, and that’s not what we want.
“He [Joshua] has a plan to rein this division for a long, long time. The undisputed is irrelevant to us right now. It’s just the focus on October 25th and Oleksandr Usyk.
“I’m looking forward to filling it up. The tickets will go very quickly. The Spurs Stadium is fantastic, we were looking to do the Kubrat Pulev fight there, and AJ wanted to return to North London. It’s going to be an amazing night,” Hearn said.
The way that Hearn briefly spoke about Usyk in this interview tells Charles Brun that he sees this fight as just a sure-thing win for Joshua. What this means is Hearn isn’t going to be focusing on Joshua-Usyk.
His eyes are going to be on Tyson Fury, dreaming about the undisputed match between him and Joshua in early 2022. In other words, Hearn will be totally overlooking the Usyk fight, counting it as a win already for AJ.
Hearn wants the Joshua vs. Fury mega-clash so badly that he can already taste it. The fight has been on Hearn’s mind for the last eight years since AJ first turned professional, and the only thing that stands in the way of it happening is Usyk and Deontay Wilder.
If things don’t work out for Joshua or Fury, Hearn forgets about his vision of a fight between the two big Brits. He’ll have to accept some other alternative, depending on if AJ or Fury gets beaten up.
There’s a very, very good chance that both Joshua AND Fury will go down in defeat. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if both get knocked out, and it won’t be a shock because these guys are badly flawed champions.
Heck, we saw AJ get knocked out by a flabby Andy Ruiz Jr, and Fury should have been knocked out in his first fight with Deontay.
AJ vs. Fury to take place in February 2022
“I see the fight [Joshua vs. Tyson Fury] as more and more as a February fight in 2022 unless both guys want it early,” said Hearn when asked when Joshua will fight Fury for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
“Both guys will have had a very long camp. Tyson Fury, by the time he gets in the ring, hasn’t boxed for 18 months.
“There’s a big argument that really he should be [WBC] Champion in Recess and Dillian Whyte should be made champion.
“But AJ will have been out of the ring for only nine months, but it’s still longer than you’d like. He’s never been out of the gym.
“I do think February is the more realistic time for the undisputed fight. Our intentions are to do a live press conference in the next couple of weeks.
“Joe Joyce is mandatory, and once that comes around, I guess he’ll be called,” said Hearn. “Everybody knows the plan.
“Beat Oleksandr Usyk and fight the undisputed fight. Dillian Whyte would be the fight that everybody wants if AJ couldn’t get the winner of Fury vs. Wilder. But with everything that’s gone on, just Oleksandr Usyk.
“This is a tough, tough fight, but as I said before, I think AJ is the best heavyweight in the world,” said Hearn.
You can tell that Hearn is really chomping at the bit to make the fight with Joshua and Fury. Hopefully, Hearn isn’t too upset if Wilder is the one that comes out victorious in his trilogy match with Fury.
It’s a mistake on Hearn’s part to overlook the possibility of Fury losing to Deontay Wilder in their trilogy match on October 9th. Hearn is so certain that Fury will beat former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) that he’s not even considering the possibility of him losing. That’s a mistake.
Fury can lose the fight, particularly with being ill recently and out of the ring for 20 months.
Hearn seemingly believes Fury has been frozen in suspended animation from the guy he was in February 2020 when he defeated Wilder by a seventh round stoppage.
But all you need to look at Fury, and you can tell that he’s aged in the year and a half that he’s been out of the ring. As such, this might not be the same Fury, which means Wilder can win.
As long as Hearn is agreeable to making an undisputed fight between Joshua and Wilder, there shouldn’t be any problems.
If Hearn still chooses to go ahead and make the fight between AJ and Fury, even with the Gypsy King coming off a loss, it’s going to look bad.
- Carl Frampton says Joshua loses to Usyk unless he stops him
- Oleksandr Usyk’s team already preparing for Tyson Fury undisputed match in December
- Tyson Fury “piping up because Anthony Joshua fighting” in 2 weeks says Eddie Hearn
- Joshua vs. Usyk II – 2 weeks to go