By Jack Tiernan: Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk 2 rematch could be announced next week for July 23rd in the Middle East, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.
Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) prefers the rematch to take place in the UK, but IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) wants it to be staged in a location that will make the most amount of money.
With money being the main driving force, the Middle East is where the Joshua-Usyk II fight appears to be heading. Hearn says he’s confident the fight will be announced next week.
Team Usyk wants a neutral venue
“July 23rd isn’t a concrete date, but there’s a very good chance you’ll see that fight on July 23rd in the Middle East,” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV about the Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk rematch.
“We’ve had a number of offers from around the world, and we have been working through those, and we’re closing in on that option,” said Hearn on a site to stage the Joshua – Usyk 2 clash.
“Team Usyk has stressed that’s the option that they would prefer because obviously, it’s a lot of money. Even though the money is considerably more than a UK fight, Team Usyk would prefer a neutral venue, and I don’t blame them for that. So that’s where we’re at.
“Do we announce it this week? Probably not, but do we announce it next week? Most certainly. You will see that fight, and you’ll see that fight in July, and you’ll get an official announcement soon,” said Hearn.
It shouldn’t be too much of a problem for Joshua to fight Usyk in the Middle East rather than in London, considering how well he did in his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. in December 2019 in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua seemed to perform better, competing away from home without the pressure from his fans because he was able to focus on his game plan.
Hearn has had numerous offers
“You mentioned Saudi, and it’s not definitely taking place [there],” Hearn said. “We’ve had a number of offers from the Middle East. The UK, obviously for the rematch, is where AJ would prefer that fight take place,” said Hearn.
“It’s so far out in the numbers [from what the Middle East will pay]. The U.S is a more lucrative site, but you have to understand this fight is a financial split between Usyk and AJ.
“We can’t just go to London because it’s a home advantage for AJ when you could be talking two or three times more money to go elsewhere. Usyk doesn’t care if the fight is in London, but he’d prefer probably not in the UK. He’d prefer to make the most money possible.
“AJ would like it in the UK but just wants the rematch. He’s boxed in the Middle East before and got a great win [over Andy Ruiz Jr] out there,” said Hearn.