By: Sean Crose
“He went abroad to prepare for the rematch.”
So heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk’s trainer has told Agence France-Presse (AFP). This would be enough to indicate that Usyk has indeed left war torn Ukraine to prepare for a second bout with Anthony Joshua, the man Usyk won his titles from last year. Yet Usyk himself has taken to social media to tell the world, via video, that he’s going to begin training for a second Joshua bout. “I decided to start preparing for a rematch with Anthony Joshua,” Usyk wrote under the video. “A large number of my friends support me, all the rest of the good and peace, Thank God for everything,”
Usyk surprised a number of people last fall when he handily outboxed the towering Joshua for twelve rounds before walking out of the ring with Joshua’s belts. A rematch was clearly in order, but Russia’s invasion of Usyk’s Ukrainian homeland brought the fighter back home to serve is country as a member of the Kyiv Territorial Defense. “It’s my duty to defend my home, my family,” the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titlist said at the time. “It’s not that I want to fight somewhere on the front line. I’m defending my home. I’m defending my wife, my children, my close ones.”
Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn indicated recently that he felt Usyk-Joshua 2 was going to happen in the spring. “Is AJ vs Usyk happening now?,” Hearn has asked rhetorically. “I actually think it will…I actually think that fight will happen next and it will happen in June.” As things stand Usyk is currently set to train at an undisclosed location, most likely due to safety precautions, as the 35 year old is certainly one of Ukraine’s better known citizens. Whether or not rematch with Joshua may well go down in June, as Hearn has indicated it might , remains to be seen.
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