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31 May, 2022 14:38

High stakes Usyk-Joshua rematch set to be delayed - report

You might have to wait that bit longer to see Oleksandr Usyk take on Anthony Joshua again
High stakes Usyk-Joshua rematch set to be delayed - report

The blockbuster rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua might have to wait a little bit longer amid reports that the fight has been pushed back to mid-August amid bickering between various television broadcasters. 

The two had been heavily linked to a fight on July 23 in Saudi Arabia in what would be a rematch of their first meeting last September which was won by the undefeated Ukrainian, who upset the odds against the hugely popular Brit by outboxing Joshua for the majority of the 12-round contest in London. 

UK broadcaster Sky Sports has an existing deal with Joshua to broadcast his fights, while Eddie Hearn's contract with DAZN means that they will have the international rights to show the fight - but squabbles between the two networks as to the specifics of their respective deals is likely to lead to a delay, reports the Telegraph

The fight still appears certain to take place in Saudi Arabia, the scene of Joshua's successful revenge against Andy Ruiz after the unheralded Mexican-American shockingly dethroned Joshua in 2019 - perhaps a good omen ahead of Joshua's task of doing the same to the outstanding Usyk. 

The delay, as brief as it might be, could prove to be a blessing in disguise for Joshua as it will afford him more time to work alongside trainer Robert Garcia who has been drafted into the camp in a bid to solve the Usyk puzzle which flummoxed him in the ring in London last year.

It will also give Saudi authorities additional preparation time amid suggestions that they are developing a purpose built arena for the fight, complete with full air conditioning to help combat the 40 degrees celsius temperatures which are expected. 

“When you question about will there be a delay? If there is, you're talking about two weeks and it's for no other reason than time and making sure we can promote the fight in the right way,” said Hearn to iFL TV. 

“The fight is happening, the fight is agreed in terms of where it will take place and both sides have agreed, both sides have agreed the deal, and both sides have agreed everything.

“It's just probably taken 10 days longer than we wanted it to and without putting a date all I can tell you is we are finalizing the final bits of paperwork, and everything is agreed. So, standby.”

There has already been a significant delay in announcing plans for the fight given the fact that Usyk took up arms in his native Ukraine to fight Russian forces during the ongoing conflict.

However, he left the frontlines in March to begin training in Poland for the rematch and will hope to extend his spotless career record when the two top-ranked sluggers finally step back into the ring with one another in a few months' time.