New date pencilled in for Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk rematch

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Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk II could reportedly be set to take place on July 23rd.

Joshua and Usyk met in the ring for the first time back in September, with AJ fighting the WBO mandatory challenger as he awaited Tyson Fury’s return to availability after being tied into a trilogy with former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.

Only AJ would be able to tell you for certain whether he overlooked Usyk, but the Ukrainian did absolutely dominate on that memorable night at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and subsequently became the new unified heavyweight champion of the world.

As is common practice in the sport, the champion, Joshua, had a rematch clause in the fight agreement, with the expectation being that he would have a second opportunity to floor Usyk and win back the belts that he lost on home turf.

However, in an entirely unique turn of events, Usyk found himself fighting for his country against the Russian invaders and as a result, the rematch with Joshua was delayed.

Oleksandr Usyk takes up arms in Ukraine amid Russia war as boxer joins  defence effort - Mirror Online
Oleksandr Usyk (second from right) has been fighting for his country in Ukraine

Towards the end of last month, the Independent reported that Usyk had left Ukraine in order to begin preparations for fighting Joshua. A difficult decision, no doubt, but one that’ll please boxing fans across the world.

The two fighters’ representatives will be working tirelessly behind the scenes to establish the where and the when, with there being no certainties at this point in time, but provisionally, July 23rd could be the date that this fight finally takes place.

Considering the initial expectation was that we’d see them fight in the spring, a date towards the backend of summer is a significant delay, but one which could not have been foreseen and is nobody’s fault.

There is an argument that the added preparation time that Joshua will have with a new trainer could be a significant positive for the former Olympic champion. He would perhaps have been interested in having an interim bout, though, were he to have known he’d be waiting so long.

It also remains to be seen what kind of condition Usyk is in at current. It will have been difficult for him to maintain a healthy, balanced diet under the circumstances, while you also think it unlikely he will have been doing any substantial training.

Either way, we will soon have a date on the calendar and can begin to grow excited over the prospect of these two world-class fighters taking to the ring together for a second time. We absolutely can’t wait.

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