Almost one year on from dethroning Anthony Joshua to become the new unified world heavyweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk will defend his crowns in the pair’s highly awaited rematch.
Usyk dominated the cruiserweight division by becoming the undisputed ruler before jumping up in weight and cementing his name in history with a victory over Joshua in London.
A delay in the second heavyweight showdown was forced due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where Usyk returned to join military forces in the battle efforts to protect his home nation.
Having been allowed to leave the frontline in order to train for his first heavyweight title defence, Usyk now has added motivation going up against ‘AJ’ for a second time. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the summer’s anticipated heavyweight blockbuster.
Usyk vs. Joshua II Fight Details
Fight: Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua II
Titles: WBA, WBO, IBF & The Ring Heavyweight titles
Date: Saturday, August 20th
Main Event Time: Approx. 17:00 ET
Live On: DAZN
Location: The Jewel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Undercard: Callum Smith vs. Mathieu Bauderlique, Filip Hrgovic vs. Zhilei Zhang, Badou Jack vs. Richard Rivera, Ramla Ali vs. Crystal Garcia Nova
Usyk vs. Joshua II Fight Preview
A lot has happened since Usyk and Joshua last came face to face in the ring last September, when the Ukrainian secured a historic unanimous decision victory in London.
Class outshone sheer weight and size that night at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as Usyk put on another masterful display across 12 rounds and looked close to stopping Joshua against the ropes in the final seconds.
Since then, Usyk has had to deal with hardships far beyond the ring. Russia’s invasion of his native Ukraine saw him drafted to the frontline in the battle against oppression.
From defending his country to defending his heavyweight title, Usyk was allowed to return to training to prepare for his rematch with Joshua and now has added fuel to the fire ahead of his ring return.
Rematch Repeat or Revenge?
Aiming to avenge his second career loss and become a three-time heavyweight champion, Joshua has switched trainers in a bid to right previous wrongs in Saudi Arabia.
Returning to the scene of his past rematch redemption over maiden conqueror, Andy Ruiz Jr, ‘AJ’ will now have esteemed American trainer Robert Garcia alongside Angel Fernandez in his corner this time around.
The dethroned former champion has outlined intentions of a more aggressive approach to the second showdown with Usyk, having worked on a new gameplan under Garcia - who has trained elite world champions such as Mikey Garcia and Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez.
But it’s nothing Usyk hasn’t been able to deal with before. The undefeated 35-year-old is a master technician who has already been able to nullify big punchers Murat Gassiev and Mairis Briedis, among others, in his career.
Having gone into the first fight as somewhat of an underdog against the towering figure of Joshua, Usyk now stands as the favourite to retain his heavyweight titles and hand his rival another career setback in ‘The Rage on The Red Sea’.
Header image: Matchroom Boxing