By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn once again says that Oleksandr Usyk will need to defend his three heavyweight titles against Anthony Joshua in the UK rather than in his preferred location of Kyiv, Ukraine.
Hearn says the Joshua vs. Usyk fight won’t make money in Ukraine, whereas he claimed it would be too cold before.
It looks like Hearn has come up with a new reason not to stage the fight in Usyk’s home country, but perhaps the reason is something different.
Despite IBF/WBA/WBO champion Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) holding all the belts and having traveled to the UK last time in defeating Joshua at Tottenham Hotspurs stadium, in London, the Ukrainian will need to return to the same city for the rematch.
What does this mean? Well, there appears to be worry on Hearn’s part about letting his flagship fighter Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) travel to Ukraine to face Usyk in his home territory.
If Joshua loses the rematch, it could hurt his numbers moving forward, resulting in him retiring.
Joshua has to win this fight, and one way for him to improve his chances of that happening is to stage the rematch back in the UK. You got to imagine Joshua fighting at home is worth four or five rounds on the scorecards, and it likely helps when it comes to him being hurt.
One example of it helping Joshua fight in the UK was his bout last September against Usyk in London. In that fight, Joshua was taking enormous punishment when he was trapped against the ropes in the 12th round.
You can argue that had the fight taken place in a neutral venue outside of the UK; the referee would have stepped in to halt the battle due to Joshua taking boatloads of punishment from Usyk.
Hearn rules out Kyiv for Usyk vs. Joshua rematch
“I think April is realistic for that fight. Before you know it, it’s going to be February, and these fights take a lot of organizing,” said Eddie Hearn to ESPN.
“For me after the success of the Spurs fight, other than the result, I would love to do that fight back in the U.K., possibly at Spurs again or at Wembley,
“We’ve got the ability to stage the fight where we want but at the same time, it has to generate enough money to know that we have done our jobs. Kyiv is NOT the place to generate money; other places outside of the U.K. will be considered,” Hearn said.
If you remember back, Hearn’s last excuse for why he didn’t want the rematch in Ukraine between Joshua and Usyk was because it would be too cold.
Now, Hearn has changed his tune, saying that it won’t generate money. He changed things up and makes you wonder what the real reason is he doesn’t want to let Joshua fight Usyk in Ukraine.
Joshua to start camp in late January
“A lot of works being done behind the scenes,” said Hearn to Talksport on the fight between Joshua and Usyk.
“Generally, the stuff you see on social media with AJ isn’t really that relevant to the work and what’s actually going on behind the scenes.
“When we talk about a fight with Usyk, which we expect to take place in April time. The camp will start at the end of this month or early February, so we have to be in the position to move for that to take place.
“He [Joshua] has to be in the position to move with the training team,” said Hearn. “I just finished a call where they said, ‘You can certainly have to be concerned because he doesn’t have a trainer yet.’
“I said, ‘You don’t know. just because he doesn’t post it on his Instagram doesn’t mean he hasn’t been working tirelessly behind the scenes,’ which he has,” said Hearn about Joshua.
“So now, once camp starts, you can expect an announcement from AJ to let everyone know where he’ll be training and who he’ll be training with.
“As I said, there’s been a lot of work going on in America and in the UK with trainers to make sure he can hit the ground running and have an important camp for what is a really important fight,” said Hearn.
Whoever is training Joshua, they got their work cut out for them because he needs a mountain of work for him to be ready for the rematch.
I don’t think there’s anyone in this world that can fix Joshua’s flaws in time for him to face Usyk in the rematch.