Usyk vs Joshua: Saudi Arabia proud to secure the 'biggest rematch in global boxing'

Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua, who fought in September, go head-to-head in Jeddah on August 20

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Saudi Arabia is set to host the “biggest rematch in global boxing” when Oleksandr Usyk takes on Anthony Joshua in Jeddah later this summer, with promoter Eddie Hearn declaring the former champion is “more determined than ever” to climb back to the summit of the sport.

The much-anticipated rematch was on Sunday confirmed for the kingdom on August 20, when Joshua attempts to reclaim the WBA, WBO and IBF belts he lost to Usyk last September via unanimous decision.

The Ukrainian, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, triumphed 117-112, 116-112 and 115-13 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

Upon Sunday's announcement, Prince Khalid bin Abdulaziz, chairman of host organisers Skill Challenge Entertainment (SCEE), said in a statement: “This is another proud moment for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia bringing the biggest rematch in global boxing to our great country.

“Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua are both brilliant champions with different stories, skills and styles, and the whole world will watch them go head-to-head in the ring on August 20 – we look forward to welcoming them.”

Usyk-Joshua 2, which is billed “Rage on the Red Sea”, marks the second world heavyweight title fight to take place in Saudi following the Briton’s championship rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr in Riyadh in December 2019. Back then, Joshua emerged victorious to regain the heavyweight belts he would eventually relinquish to Usyk.

Although the venue for the bout is yet to be confirmed, it is expected to be staged at Jeddah Super Dome. The second clash between two of the division’s marquee fighters was set in motion when Joshua invoked the rematch clause in the original contract.

Matchroom Sport chairman Eddie Hearn, who promotes Joshua, said in a statement: “We are thrilled to get one of the biggest heavyweight rematches in boxing history made and give Anthony Joshua the chance to reclaim what he lost in London last September.

"Everything is on the line for this unified world heavyweight championship bout and it could not be a bigger contest. We know Oleksandr Usyk is a great fighter and we saw that last time out, but I know Anthony Joshua is more determined than ever.

"It was a huge success to host Anthony Joshua’s contest with Andy Ruiz Jr in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2019 and we are looking forward to working with the country again to stage this historic event. No doubt all eyes of the world will be on the ring come Saturday August 20. This is a story of redemption, and the countdown starts now.”

The rematch, which had originally be planned for next month, marks the first time both boxers have fought since their initial encounter. Usyk, 35, is returning to the ring having joined his country’s defence against the Russian invasion. He left his homeland in March to focus on the Joshua rematch.

Updated: June 20, 2022, 1:03 PM
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