One of the biggest heavyweight bouts of the year is scheduled for August 20th, as Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk clash for the second time. The first fight between the heavyweights was a stunning spectacle at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as history was made when Usyk dethroned Joshua to become the IBF, WBA, WBO, and IBO heavyweight champion.
Following the win, the Ukrainian became only the third boxer in history to win world titles at cruiserweight and heavyweight; following Evander Holyfield and David Haye. However, keeping hold of the titles will now be his biggest challenge.
Big Fight Information
Just four days after the initial fight between Joshua and Usyk, the rematch was already in the works. It was officially announced earlier this year, with the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, hosting the WBA, WBO, IBO, and IBF heavyweight title showdown.
The fight has been billed as ‘Rage on the Red Sea’, and it will be aired on PPV worldwide on DAZN. However, Usyk was given permission to air the fight for free in his home country of Ukraine. Another avenue to bet on the fight can be found at CasinosHub, which will enable viewers to check out and find the sportsbook with the right fit for the fight.
What Happened In AJ vs Usyk 1?
The first fight between two of the top boxing heavyweights in the world took place in September of last year. Joshua went into the bout as the defending champion, and the clear favourite in the betting to successfully defend his title. However, Usyk did an excellent job to make the evening at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as uncomfortable as possible for AJ.
The Ukrainian dominated throughout and was able to use his higher ring IQ to land punishing shots on the champion. Many experts, including Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, were critical of Joshua’s tactics in the fight, as he never looked to use his height, reach or size advantage against Usyk. Instead, it was the Ukrainian that landed the biggest blows in the fight and almost scored a famous stoppage win in the final round, only for the bell to deny him a first KO/TKO finish in the heavyweight division.
After his victory, Usyk danced around the ring, and welcome talk of a rematch, stating that he would happily beat Joshua for a second time. As for AJ, he was left to ponder what might have been, as he looked dejected as he exited the ring after suffering a second professional defeat.
Was The Fight Delayed?
Despite the agreement for a rematch agreed in principle just days after the first fight, there has been no shortage of hold-ups when it comes to planning the second fight between the heavyweights. The first was over the clash when it came to the venue that would hold the rematch, with Usyk revealing that he wanted the fight to be in Ukraine. However, Hearn batted away those chances, as he said that it wouldn’t make the fight financially viable.
The second hold-up came following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2023, as this put fresh doubts on whether the fight would happen at all. Usyk returned to his home country to fight for Ukraine and admitted during an interview with CNN that he didn’t know when he would be stepping back into the ring. However, in early April, Usyk was given special permission to leave Ukraine and train for the upcoming fight against Joshua, which is set for August 20th.
Who Will Win Joshua vs Usyk II?
The golden question centres around which fighter could potentially pick up the win and walk away as the heavyweight champion. The rematch is expected to be completely different from the first fight, as Joshua will need to come out and impose himself this time. AJ will need to use his power and size to his advantage and not fall down the same hole again of trying to outbox Usyk. There are few better technical fighters than the Ukrainian, which means getting stuck into that kind of fight will only favour the reigning champion.
That being said, Usyk has now shown that he has what it takes to compete in the heavyweight division, and that makes his rematch very dangerous for Joshua. The fact that Usyk almost scored a stoppage victory in the first fight could play in Joshua’s head, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Ukrainian record a stoppage victory late in the fight as AJ goes on the hunt for the knockout.
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What Could Be Next?
Following the rematch, the scene will finally be set for the unification fight that we thought was going to happen two years ago. Tyson Fury’s retirement has already come to an end, as he wants to take on Derek Chisora at Old Trafford, and the winner of the rematch will certainly be interested in making the money-spinning unification bout happen early in 2023.