‘If we had our way, London would be the choice’ – Eddie Hearn explains why Anthony Joshua’s rematch against Oleksandr Usyk will likely take place in Saudi Arabia and not London


Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk are expected to be announced within the next two weeks, promoter Eddie Hearn has told talkSPORT.

Saudi Arabia is widely rumored to be the destination, with a July 23 date set for the IBO, IBF, WBO and WBA (super) heavyweight rematch between the two.

Joshua had to wait while Usyk’s complex situation at home unfolds

Hearn told talkSPORT that Usyk’s team are traveling to London this week to try and finalize the fight, but he admitted the fight will likely take place overseas as those deals bring in more money.

“That’s one of the options we have,” Hearn said of the fight taking place in Saudi Arabia. “There are three of the four options we are looking at right now, going through the various contracts and site proposals.

“The Usyk team, some of them will be in London this week, so we’ll meet them and we’re probably two weeks away from an official announcement.

“But that fight is over, the rematch clause in the contract means it’s the next fight for both guys and we’re looking forward to a mega fight this summer.

“We would love him in England because it’s a must win for AJ and it’s always an advantage to have that home advantage, but one of the issues is that it’s a financial split and obviously the Team Usyk is going to want as much money as they can for this fight. Understandable.

“So we have to look at the other options and there’s a lot more money to do the fight elsewhere. If we had our way, London would be the choice because it’s an important fight for AJ to win obviously,” Hearn said.


'If we had our way, London would be the choice' - Eddie Hearn explains why Anthony Joshua's rematch against Oleksandr Usyk will likely take place in Saudi Arabia and not London
Usyk holds three of the four major belts in the world heavyweight title picture
Mark Robinson/Matchroom

Joshua lost the titles to Usyk, then his WBO mandatory competitor, last September, but a rematch clause still meant he would get another shot at the cherry.

Avril was the initial target of the fight, but with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Usyk’s homeland, the heavyweight champion returned to help defend his country.

That delay and the uncertainty surrounding the whole situation in Ukraine meant that Joshua considered fighting on an interim basis, but Hearn says they never got to the negotiating table with potential opponents.

“I always liked the idea of ​​him fighting a southpaw in preparation for Usyk, so Luis Ortiz and Otto Wallin were in the mix and we heard a lot of noise from Joe Joyce and that kind of guy, but we didn’t. ‘ve never really had a chance to come in and negotiate with anyone because the situation is so fluid.

'If we had our way, London would be the choice' - Eddie Hearn explains why Anthony Joshua's rematch against Oleksandr Usyk will likely take place in Saudi Arabia and not London
Usyk left Ukraine and will face Joshua again
Mark Robinson/Matchroom

“One day Usyk was fighting, then a few days later it looked like he wasn’t, so we never moved on an opponent, which is good.

“Although Anthony should have taken an interim fight, he wasn’t really motivated for it like he is for the title fight.

“He’s well positioned and very happy and excited that Usyk is going to fight and he’s been chomping at the bit for an announcement like everyone else, so we’re working hard on that.”

talkSPORT will bring you live coverage of the huge world heavyweight title fight between Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte at Wembley on Saturday night, with our coverage starting at 7.30pm and featuring expert ringside analysis from Ben Davison


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