Usyak, Joshua face off, ready for a rematch

Earlier there were amenities. Then came the long and rapidly growing face-off.

On Tuesday, Alexander Usik and Anthony Joshua went head-to-head for the first time since their rematch for the World Heavyweight Championship was announced.

The boxers attended a news conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – where the fight will take place on August 20 – and it culminated with Usyak, WBA, WBO and IBF champion and challenger Joshua, refusing to budge in a prolonged faceoff Was doing. After being directed out of the building.

While Joshua, seated next to new trainer Robert Garcia, had previously spoken about correcting many of the wrongdoings of his loss in the first fight in London in September, Usic’s team was already on the cusp of what might happen next. was paying attention.

“For Aleksandr, it is very important to keep those titles,” said Usyk’s manager Egil Kilmas, “and to go further, because there is a very, very (huge) chance that the winner of this match will be the undisputed heavyweight champion. will be taken.”

This could be news for Tyson Fury, who retained his WBC and Ring Magazine belts with a knockout by fellow Briton Dillon White at London’s Wembley Stadium in April.

Fury stated that this would be his last fight and that he has repeated it since then. However, in a recent interview with British broadcaster talkSPORT, Fury said he would be willing to come out of retirement if he is paid £500 million ($615 million).

Usyk will start as a favorite against Joshua after thrashing Britain to win by unanimous decision at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September. He has been in camp for a rematch since March after leaving Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, where he returned in February to help defend his country from the invading Russians.

Suffice to say, Usyk will be nothing short of inspiration.

“As we all know, we are not in the best position back home at the moment,” he said through a translator, “but we are doing what we have to do, we are doing our part together with our team. We are working hard to achieve our goals.

“I’ve never spoken too loud and bright. I only worked hard at my training camp and gym, and that’s what I’m going to do until the fight date. Then I’ll get in the ring and make you happy with your boxing .

Asked what convinced him to beat Joshua again, Usik said: “The reason for my happiness is not my championship belt, but the fact that I have a family – my wife, my children – And I have an amazing team around me.”

Joshua leaves his longtime coach, Robert McCracken, after admitting that he was well beaten by Usyk and not well prepared for the first fight.

He will return to Saudi Arabia to retrieve his belt – like he successfully did in December 2019 by defeating Andy Ruiz Jr. On points in a fight in Riyadh.

“I had to take that defeat like a man but I hold myself accountable,” Joshua said of his defeat to Usyak. “I am someone who can admit when I am wrong and holds my head high when I am right.

“I don’t like to complicate a situation. There’s talent in simplicity. Sometimes if you keep it simple, you can achieve great things.”

Joshua, who wished Usyak a “safe journey” before the fight, called himself “The Comeback King”. Not only with what he has achieved in the boxing ring but also outside it.

“The great thing is that I’ve got a second chance,” Joshua said. “When I was young and I used to get into a little trouble every now and then, what got me into boxing the first time was that I got a second chance and I found boxing and took it with both hands.

“If you know me and my story, you know I’m the ‘Comeback King’ – you can let me down, but it’s hard to put me down.”

The next leg of their promotional tour for Fight is London on Wednesday.

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