“I am pleased to be here today,” WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk stated on Wednesday during a press conference in London to promote his rematch with Anthony Joshua on August 20th. “I am very happy to get the opportunity to fight in Saudi Arabia and help open new horizons for the sport of boxing. I love to travel around the world and fight in places for the first time.” Sure enough, Usyk-Joshua 2 will take place in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Usyk, who won Joshua’s belts in London in September, will now be fighting even further away from home. It doesn’t disturb the unbeaten champion.
“I am not fighting for money or any recognition,” he explained. “I am just doing my job now and will continue fighting until my heart keeps beating. I am not expecting anything from Anthony Joshua, but I know that he will be different, but so will I.” Usyk is correct to believe things will fight differently in their rematch, as Joshua has teamed up with famed American trainer Robert Garcia as he prepares to meet Usyk again.
“The whole team,” added Garcia, who was also present at the news conference, “everybody around us is very positive. We have to do whatever it takes. We have to come out with different strategies in case one doesn’t work. We’ll be ready for the fight.” Garcia says, adding that Joshua is practicing hard and trusts his experience. “Anthony is listening. He believes in us and that’s the most important thing. In the ring he’s got to come out and do what we tell him to do.” Garcia also knows a little bit about Usyk, which can help Joshua.
“Usyk is a great fighter,” he stated. “I’ve known him since a few years back when he came to my gym a few times to train. He’s a very talented fighter. He’s got very different ways to fight. Seeing the size difference, the height, the reach, the weight – everything is in Anthony’s advantage. We’ve got to take advantage of that. We’ve got to train him to focus on that and come fight night do what we need to do to win.”
As for Joshua, he made it obvious that he understands what he needs to do to reclaim his belts and is working hard to do it. “It is a rough and tough sport,” he said. “Fighting these lefties is a nightmare! And I cannot make the same mistake twice. I am hungry and desperate but at the end of the day how I perform will speak.”
Usyk’s World Boxing Super Series (WBSS)
Usyk ultimately revealed on July 1, 2015, that he will be joining fellow cruiserweights Mairis Briedis, Murat Gassiev, Yuniel Dorticos, Marco Huck, and Krzysztof Wodarczyk in the eight-man bracket type tournament, which would begin in September 2017. “I feel thrilled and inspired by the notion of such a tournament,” he said. “I’ve been dreaming of getting all the champs together to see who is the strongest and becomes the uncontested king of the division.” The draw was scheduled for July 8 in Monte Carlo. The tournament winner would earn a large cash award as well as the Muhammad Ali trophy.