By Scott Gilfoid: Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua are still negotiating to decide the date and the venue for their rematch.
Thus far, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn says he expects the rematch with IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) to take place in April, and he’s angling to have it take place in the UK once again.
Usyk says he’d prefer the rematch take place in Ukraine, as he’s now the champion, and he had to travel to London, England, to fight Joshua the last time they fought in September.
Even so, it appears Hearn is going to get his way by staging the Joshua vs. Usyk 2 rematch in the UK, and he’s already talking about placing it at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium or Wembley Stadium.
Joshua desperately needs help
If fairness were part of the equation for the rematch, the Joshua vs. Usyk II fight should take place in a neutral country, if not in Ukraine.
Placing the rematch in the U.S would be perfect, as neither fighter would have the advantage in that situation. But staging the fight in the UK is ridiculous, given that Usyk is the champion and had to go there last time.
“Many things are happening at the moment,” Alexander Krassyuk said to Sky Sports about the Usyk vs. Joshua rematch. “Soon, we will unveil everything.”
“I heard that Joshua could consider stepping aside if the money is right as he feels respect to the division and is willing to let the undisputed heavyweight championship happen.”
Hearn has already ruled out the idea of a step aside for Joshua, saying, “AJ is already in camp physically and mentally for the Usyk rematch, and it’s all he has thought about since the night of the first fight.”
So there it is. Joshua WON’T step aside, and he’s going to gamble in this fight, hoping that maybe he can win this time with his new coach’s ideas. Boy, this is going to be bad if Joshua loses.
Who will AJ blame this time?
Gilfoid can only imagine the panic that will happen once AJ gets beaten again. I mean, who will Joshua this time? Someone has got to take the blame, right?
Most would agree that the 32-year-old Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) needs all the help he can get for him to try and win the rematch with Usyk because his career is hurdling rapidly towards skidrow.
If Hearn can stack the deck in Joshua’s favor by picking the ideal venue in his backyard in England, he might be able to avert another loss temporarily. But it’s pretty clear that Joshua’s ship is listing badly, taking in water, and about to tip over in the high seas.
Joshua had the chance to avoid another loss if he’d done the noble thing and stepped aside like a good one to allow WBC belt holder Tyson Fury to fight Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
Instead of stepping aside for the good of boxing, Joshua chose to be selfish about it, exercising his rematch clause to force Usyk to fight him again. Gilfoid can always see how this one is going to end for Joshua.
Rather than focusing on what the fans want, Joshua is thinking only of his self-interest, fighting Usyk to try and quickly win back his IBF, WBA, and WBO heavyweight straps.
Joshua wants to try and magically erase what happened to him last September as if a win over Usyk would blank out the memory of that dreary night at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium when Oleksandr handed AJ his backside.
It’s an interesting move on Joshua’s part, but it’s likely to backfire on him with Usyk sending him down for a second defeat. You can only imagine how Joshua will be kicking himself afterward for not agreeing to the step aside idea.
Fury predicting Joshua gets thrashed again
“Usyk will smash him. Never mind beating him on points – he’d knock him out,” said Fury on his belief that Joshua will get a royal thrashing next April.
I hate to say it, but Fury could be right about Joshua. He’s mindlessly steaming straight into trouble by opting to fight the talented Ukrainian fighter once again.