By: Sean Crose
There’s no doubt that it has not been a great year for Ukraine, the eastern European nation engaged in an all out war with Russian forces. WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk returned to his Ukrainian homeland after Russia began its invasion last winter. He’s since been permitted to leave the country, however, in order to fight Anthony Joshua in a rematch of their battle last fall. Usyk in the meantime is doing his own small part to return the Ukrainian government’s favor by making his August 20th rematch with Joshua in Saudi Arabia free to view in his home country.
“Usyk,” the Daily Mail writes, “is determined to make the bout free to watch for all in Ukraine after securing the TV rights from the Saudi Arabian organizers.” Usyk was reportedly willing to pay for the television rights, but the Saudi rights holders are going to allow the fight card to be aired in Ukraine free of charge. This should provide at least a bit of good news for the people of that war torn nation. The people of Great Britain, Joshua’s homeland, will be able to watch the fight broadcast for free, as well.
Usyk, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world, no doubt surprised a few people when he outboxed the popular Joshua last year, thus removing the towering Englishman from his titles. Joshua, who now has a new trainer in American notable Robert Garcia, is no doubt going to bring a new strategy to the rematch, much as he did when he successfully rematched Andy Ruiz after a stunning loss to the Mexican American back in 2019. Joshua decided to box the second time around against Ruiz, and the strategy paid off handsomely.
This time, however, Joshua may well approach Usyk with more aggression than he did the first time around – as Usyk was effectively able to to prove himself the better boxer of the two last year. No doubt Usyk is preparing for something new when he meets Joshua again later this month in the rematch.
Ukraine is a country known for it’s heavyweight boxers. Former heavyweight titlist Vitali Klitschko is now the mayor of the capital city of Ukraine. Vitali’s young brother, Wladimir, was himself a heavyweight titlist – and a very longstanding one at that. Should Usyk be able to defeat Joshua a second time, he’s apt to rightly be considered one of his nation’s greatest fighters.
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