ANTHONY JOSHUA and Oleksandr Usyk’s huge heavyweight rematch in Saudi Arabia is merely hours away – and excitement is reaching fever pitch.
AJ was over a stone heavier than Usyk last time out, but the defending champ looks to have bulked up and the desert stage is set for this stunning bout.
After losing in their first fight one year ago, Joshua, 32, wants to celebrate the 10th anniversary of winning London Olympic gold by reclaiming his place back at the top table of the heavyweight class.
And that could even mean teeing up a long-awaited fight with Tyson Fury.
There had been a lot of doubt whether this heavyweight blockbuster was going to go ahead.
As AJ and his Ukrainian opponent witnessed their exciting match-up get pushed back TWICE, once in May and again in July.
Russia’s war on Ukraine also had an impact on the arrangement of the rematch.
Usyk, 35, returned to his home country earlier this tear to join the fight in the war against Russia, which began in February.
But he’s now in training camp for the biggest fight of his life and the confirmed start time has been revealed.
Usyk outpointed and largely outclassed a game Joshua in front of 70,000 fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September to win the WBA, WBO, IBF & IBO world titles.
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However, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn told The Sun that his client is ‘baffled’ by the tactics used last year, and hinted at a change of gameplan for the rematch.
He said: “I was talking to him the other night and I think finally it’s baffled him why he fought like that.
“For a long time, he still felt even when he lost that he could still beat Usyk like that. But why when you don’t need to fight like that?
“He could fight in your old style and have a much better chance of beating him. Klitschko-style but Usyk is a tremendous fighter, a great counterpuncher.”
Hearn added that AJ “needs to be a lot more aggressive” this time.
The two sides spent months negotiating a money-spinning deal for AJ’s second fight in Saudi Arabia, having beaten Ruiz Jr on points in the oil-rich country in December 2019.
Joshua will also have a new training team, with the experienced Robert Garcia leading his corner while Angel Fernandez plays second-in-command.
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When is Joshua vs Usyk 2?
- Joshua vs Usyk 2 will take place on Saturday, August 20.
- The fight is going to be held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
- It is set to be a late one for UK viewers, with 10.54pm revealed as the approximate start time.
What TV channel is it on and can I live stream it?
- Joshua vs Usyk 2 will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
- Sky Sports won the bidding war for the rights to show the event – with the UK rights for the fight not part of AJ’s DAZN deal.
- DAZN will be showing the fight in the rest of the world.
- The PPV will cost viewers a record £26.95, the most expensive fight to purchase in UK history.
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Can I listen to Joshua vs Usyk 2 on radio?
Yes you can. talkSPORT have the exclusive rights for the big fight and you can listen to it all for FREE.
The station’s Fight Night team will be made up of be presenters Adam Catterall and Gareth A Davies, commentator Andy Clarke, sports broadcaster Ade Oladipo and former bantamweight boxer Spencer Oliver.
Joshua vs Usyk 2 FULL CARD
The full Joshua vs Usyk 2 undercard has finally been announced, and what a cracker it’s going to be.
Callum Smith will compete in Jeddah, however, just as he did on the first Joshua vs Usyk undercard when he takes on Mathieu Bauderlique in a WBC light-heavyweight final eliminator.
While heavyweight star Filip Hrgovic takes on Zhilei Zhang in an IBF heavyweight title eliminator.
Badou Jack will also be in action against Richard Rivera.
- Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk 2 (10.54pm) – World heavyweight championship WBA ‘super’, IBF, IBO and WBO – 12 rounds
- Filip Hrgovic vs Zhilei Zhang (9.52pm) – IBF heavyweight final eliminator – 12 rounds
- Callum Smith vs Mathieu Bauderlique (8.50pm) – WBC light-heavyweight final eliminator – 12 rounds
- Badou Jack vs Richard Rivera (7.18pm) – cruiserweight – 10 rounds
- Ziyad Almaayouf vs Jose Alatorre (6.48pm) – super-lightweight – 4 rounds
- Ramla Ali vs Crystal Garcia Nova (6.10pm) – super-bantamweight – 8 rounds
- Andrew Tabiti vs James Wilson (5.24pm) – heavyweight – 8 rounds
- Ben Whittaker vs Peter Nosic (4.46pm) – light-heavyweight – 6 rounds
- Daniel Lapin vs Josef Jurko (4.03pm) – heavyweight – 8 rounds
- Bader Alsamreen vs Faud Tarverdi (3.30pm) – super lightweight – 6 rounds
- Rashed Belhassa aka Money Kicks vs Traycho Georgiev (3pm) – welterweight – 4 rounds
Where will Joshua vs Usyk 2 take place?
The venue for Joshua vs Uysk 2 is the King Abdullah Sports City Arena, otherwise known as the Shining Jewel.
The stadium can seat up to 62,000 for a football match, but more are expected to pile in for Joshua vs Usyk 2.
Saudi Arabia has been a controversial host country, with the oil-rich nation accused of sportswashing after spending huge sums luring some of the world’s best golfers to their new LIV series.
Hearn, however, has dismissed any such comparison. He said: “He is not worried about any backlash because he has done it before.
“He will ultimately go, ‘Eddie over to you’. I am not going to pass the buck but it is very different when the deal is a 50/50 split. How can we go back to Usyk and say, ‘Let’s do it at Spurs’ because they will just say it is a non-starter.”
What has been said?
Both Joshua and Usyk met face-to-face for the first time since their clash last year at the press conference in Saudi Arabia.
“The fight with Usyk, he bust my a** for some rounds,” Joshua quipped.
“And I have to take that defeat like a man as well, I have to be accountable.
“In the fight in September, I was wrong and he was right. Simply I have to reverse that role in August.
“I don’t like to overcomplicate the situation, because there’s simplicity in genius. I’m just gonna keep things simple.”
Usyk added: “As you all know, we are not in the best conditions at the moment back home.
“I never made some very loud and bright speeches, all I did was just work hard in my training camp, my gym, that’s what I’m gonna do until the date of the fight.
“Then I will enter the ring and I will make you happy with my boxing.”
Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua met at a press conference in Saudi Arabia[/caption]
Who is Robert Garcia?
Robert Garcia is Joshua’s new trainer, with AJ splitting from long-time coach Rob McCracken following his loss to Usyk last September.
McCracken had led Joshua to Olympic gold at London 2012, his first world title in 2016, and the regaining of his belts in 2019.
But the tactics Joshua used in the defeat to Usyk were widely panned, so the Watford man went out in search of a new voice in the corner.
In steps Garcia, who has guided 14 different men to world titles throughout his legendary career as a trainer.
Fighters he’s trained include former four-division champ and brother Mikey Garcia, Marcos Maidana, Jose Ramirez, Bam Rodriguez, Abner Mares, Nonito Donaire, Brandon Rios and Antonio Margarito.
The Mexican was also a fighter himself, and won the IBF super-featherweight world title in 1998.
Anthony Joshua has named Robert Garcia as his new trainer[/caption]
But in 2001, after a knockout loss to Joel Casamyaor, Garcia retired at the age of 26 and decided to focus on training.
Garcia is known to be an offensive, Mexican-style, front-foot trainer, and will train the tactics plenty believe Joshua needs to beat an elusive southpaw like Usyk.
The 47-year-old has said: “We’ll see who’s the better man. We’re going to do whatever it takes to win those titles back.
“I know he can do it. He’s the bigger man, he’s the stronger man, he’s got the reach advantage, so we’re going to take advantage of all that.
“Come that day, I think without a doubt, we’re going to have a three-time heavyweight champion of the world.”