Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title rematch with Ukraine war hero Oleksandr Usyk will have to be pushed even deeper into summer if contracts are not signed next week.
Finite confirmation of Joshua’s bid to regain the multiple belts he lost to former undisputed world cruiser weight champion in a huge but overwhelming upset last September has been delayed again.
This will raise doubts about the rematch going ahead in the foreseeable future, especially with Usyk needing time to regain 22lbs of muscle weight lost while fighting on the front line against Russian forces, but promoter Eddie Hearn insists: ‘The fight is definitely going to happen.’
The megabucks fight is still scheduled for one of two new lavish indoor stadia in Saudi Arabia, one in Rhyad, the other in Jeddah.
Hearn adds: ‘We are speeding up the process but if we cannot make the official announcement next week we may have to push back the date further.’
The timing has already moved from April to May, June and now July 23.
‘That is the agreed date for us all now ,’says Hearn. ‘If needs be we can hold for another a week or two.
But if everything’s not finalised by next week we won’t be able to fit the world media tour into the fighters’ training camp schedule and it will have to go to the 30th or a week or so into August.’
Boxing is also awaiting Joshua to reveal the identity of ‘a new addition’ to his training camp after promoting Angel Fernandez over longtime head coach Rob McCracken in a major shake up after the embarrassing loss to Usyk
Hearn says: ‘Expect an experienced new pair eyes on the team.’