Wilder: ‘It’s good to know that Usyk will be in the arena’

Former WBC Heavyweight World Champion and boxing superstar Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder(42-2-1, 41 KOs) previewed his long-awaited return to the ring during a media workout in Las Vegas Thursday, as he prepares to take on top-rated Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius(31-3, 20 KOs) in a WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator on Saturday, October 15 topping a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The pay-per-view telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will see Wilder look to make his first step toward becoming a two-time heavyweight champion with an emphatic victory over the hard-hitting Helenius. Wilder’s first title reign saw him rack up an astounding 10 consecutive successful defenses and a staggering 91.1% knockout rate, combining to make him one of the biggest stars in the sport today.

Wilder talked a number of topics, including a possible fight with unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, who is expected to be ringside for Wilder-Helenius.

On what he expects from Helenius…

“I always want a good matchup. Robert (Helenius) has been on a winning streak and he’s here. I’ve been hearing he’s supposed to be the mandatory for (Oleksandr) Usyk and however that’s laid out, but I know he’s coming with his A+++ game. They always do when they fight me.

“With Robert, I think he’s gotten even more confident because he’s been sparring with me for many, many years. So we kind of know each other. At this point in camp, we’re trying to do some things that he’s never seen before. And I’m sure he’s trying to do some things that I’ve never seen before. And the one thing I like about Robert is that he has a warrior’s heart, just like me.”

Toby Acuna/Premier Boxing Champions

On training nonstop for long lengths of time…

“We’ve been doing 30 or 40 rounds nonstop. Only time I get water is during the break. I’ve just been doing things like that to challenge myself, doing things that have never been done before, or that you don’t really do in boxing. I wanted to see how my body adjusts to the long length of time without a break. When you can go a long time without taking a break, you’re in shape.”

On what’s special about fighting at Barclays Center…

“It’s not only just the beautiful arena that they have there, but they pack so many electrifying fans in there… I think Barclays Center has some of the best fans around. Every time I’ve been there, I’ve had an open-armed welcome, and I’m going to receive the same, or even greater, this time around. And I’m all smiles. I’ve been ready to come back to Barclays Center for some time now, and I get that opportunity… I’m coming back Brooklyn!”

On Usyk potentially being ringside on October 15 and a possible showdown against him in the near future…

“It’s music to my ears. I hold Usyk to be a very honorable person and a man of his word. So I’m looking forward to that. I’m not looking past Robert by any means. It’s good to know that Usyk will be in the arena. Welcome to a great show. And to all the fans, welcome to a great show for whoever is watching and attending, but I’m not looking past Robert.

“For Usyk to be able to bless me with a title shot when I’ve blessed so many during my reign, it’s a great feeling. So we’re going to get past October 15, and then after that we can see what happens. I’ve got a lot of things lined up, a lot of options in the works for me… But when it’s dealing with a title shot you’ve got to jump on it when the opportunity presents itself.”

On a renewed energy and doing things ‘his way’ in the second half of his career…

“It feels good. Even in my first reign, a lot of it was my way. But this right here is totally 100% Deontay Wilder’s way. I’m in a different position right now. And it just feels great to be in the position I’m in with no pressure. I don’t need the business anymore. When I do it, I do it for my own personal reasons. I’m doing it for the people and I’m doing it for some hardware, some titles.”

Prediction: Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua II

Former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua knows what it takes to rebound from adversity. The 32-year-old fought in the United States for the first time in 2019 and was heavily favored against Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden. 

However, Ruiz stunned the boxing world by getting up from a knockdown and stopping Joshua in 7, but Joshua got the rematch and ultimately got his revenge as he beat Ruiz by unanimous decision later that year.

Now, on August 20, at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in the coastal city of Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Joshua(24-2, 22 KOs) is trying to do the same against a more challenging opponent in unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk(19-0, 13 KOs), who defeated Joshua by unanimous decision in 2021.

Joshua says he’s ready and called this a “must-win” fight.

That’s it. It’s a “must-win” fight,” he said this week. “Preparations have been tough, but I like the pressure. Robert Garcia, Angel Fernandez, members of my previous team as well; they’ve been pushing me, challenging me, ensuring I stay focused, and positioning me to get the job done and emerge victorious come Saturday night.

“I’m looking forward to it. I want to compete. I’m looking forward to it. I can’t really say muchelse, but you’ve got to have a competitive spirit. I’m prepared to do whatever it takes, and I’m looking forward to competing this weekend.”

Usyk, 35, expects the rematch to be a very great fight.

“We learned from each other in the first fight, but this is a continuation, and the first round on Saturday will be round 13,” Usyk said. “We had enough time to study each other. We were born to compete for life, for belts, for everything. The one who does not compete does not win. All our lives are competitions for something or somebody. That’s why we are competing. We’ve had enough time to study each other, and this Saturday will be a great, great fight.”

Prediction:

Joshua has a new trainer in Robert Garcia, and again, we’ve seen what he did in the rematch against Ruiz. He avoided fighting inside and used his size and jab to get the job done. Joshua will have to use his size(6-5, 244 pounds) to defeat Usyk(6-3, 221 pounds). Joshua has the power to drop and stop Usyk, while the Ukrainian is a technician and skills pay the bills, which favors Usyk. 

Joshua tried to box Usyk in their first fight; it appears to get the win in the rematch, he must make it a little dirty.

In reality, Usyk did not look great in his first two fights at heavyweight, but he put it all together against Joshua. This is his fourth fight at heavyweight, and it appears he has grown into the weight.

It’s hard to pick against Usyk, but you can’t dismiss the fight in Joshua. My mind says Usyk, but my heart is telling me, Joshua.

Winner: Joshua by split decision.

Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Badou Jack to battle Richard Rivera on Usyk-Joshua undercard

Former Two Division Boxing World Champion and Global Philanthropist Badou Jack (26-3-3, 16 KOs) will make his Saudi Arabian debut on the undercard of Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua, August 20 in Jeddah against unbeaten prospect Richard Rivera (21-0, 16 KO’s).

Jack, 38, has been very active in the Middle East region with his promotional company, Badou Jack Promotions, having promoted the first ever PPV Boxing and Kickboxing card in Dubai in May of 2019 and working with other promotions to stage his own fights in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Most recently, Jack, dubbed “The People’s Champion” fought on the Floyd Mayweather exhibition in Abu Dhabi in May at the Etihad Arena, with a quick 46 second first round knockout victory. Previous to that, he made his UAE debut in Dubai with a 2nd round KO of Samuel Crossed.

“I’m excited to make my Saudi debut on such a big event on August 20 in Jeddah,” Jack stated. “This is another great event that Badou Jack Promotions is a part of and my team and I are looking forward to many more in the region.”

“I’m super excited for this fight and can’t wait to showcase my talent,” said Jack’s opponent, “Popeye” Richard Rivera, who is promoted by Joe Deguardia’s Star Boxing. “I wanted this fight for a few years now, so I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. It’s time for a veteran, Badou Jack, to pass the torch down.”

“We are thrilled to announce Badou’s Saudi debut on this mega event” Badou Jack Promotions CEO Amer Abdallah said. “We have a wonderful relationship with great partners in the Middle East and Badou Jack Promotions will continue to be extremely eventful in this part of the world. We are looking forward to making many more big announcements in the very near future.”

Joshua: ‘I am the happiest and most motivated I have been’

Unified Heavyweight World Champion Oleksandr Usyk will put his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO World Titles on the line against Anthony Joshua in the coastal city of Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Saturday August 20.

One of the biggest Heavyweight rematches in the history of the sport, Usyk vs. Joshua 2, billed ‘Rage on the Red Sea’, will take place nearly three years on from the historic ‘Clash on the Dunes’ event at the Diriyah Arena that saw Joshua reclaim his Heavyweight crowns against Andy Ruiz Jr.

Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) was dethroned as Heavyweight King by Ukrainian pound-for-pound star Usyk in September 2021 in front of over 60,000 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England on a memorable evening in boxing’s marquee division.

Since the pair’s first meeting, former Undisputed Cruiserweight World Champion Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) has gained further global attention after putting the rematch on hold to support his home nation on the front line during their ongoing conflict.

I have a goal, with the help of the Lord I will complete my mission!,” Usyk said.

Joshua wants to get revenge, and according to him, he’s in a good place.

“What a roller coaster journey, fighting for the Heavyweight Championship of the World for the 12th consecutive time,” said Joshua. “I won the belt, unified the division won another belt, lost the belts, became two-time Unified Heavyweight Champion and now have my date with history set to become three-time Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World. What an opportunity

“Fighting championship level back to back has had its pros and cons, but I decide every day to get stronger, to learn from my experiences and grow. A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter and I am the happiest and most motivated I have been.”

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn expects Joshua to be ready on fight night.

We know Oleksandr Usyk is a great fighter and we saw that last time out, but I know Anthony Joshua is more determined than ever. It was a huge success to host Anthony Joshua’s contest with Andy Ruiz Jr. in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2019 and we are looking forward to working with the country again to stage this historic event. So, no doubt all eyes of the world will be on the ring come Saturday August 20th. This is a story of redemption, and the countdown starts now.”

Okolie-Prasovic headlines Joshua-Usyk undercard

Details of the supporting cast to Anthony Joshua’s huge IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Title showdown with Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday September 25 have been confirmed.

The Heavyweight division’s biggest attraction puts his unified crown on the line once more against former Undisputed Cruiserweight World Champion and pound-for-pound star Usyk

WBO Cruiserweight World Champion Lawrence Okolie (16-0, 13 KOs) puts his World Title on the line for the first time against his Mandatory Challenger Dilan Prasovic (15-0, 12 KOs) following his crushing sixth round stoppage of Krzysztof Glowacki at The SSE Arena, Wembley back in March.

By winning a World Title in just his sixteenth fight, the unbeaten 28-year-old from Hackney nicknamed ‘The Sauce’ emulated fellow Brits Tony Bellew, David Haye, Enzo Maccarinelli, Johnny Nelson and Carl Thompson who all previously held world crowns in the 200lb class.

Montenegro’s Prasovic, a former WBO Cruiserweight Youth World Champion, sits at No.1 in the world with the governing body having won all fifteen of his fights since turning professional in October 2014, with twelve of those wins coming by way of knockout.

Former WBA Super-Middleweight World Champion Callum Smith (27-1, 19 KOs) makes his highly anticipated ring return up at Light-Heavyweight against the Dominican Republic’ Lenin Castillo (21-3-1, 16 KOs) after his points loss to Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez out in Texas last December.

Manchester Lightweight prospect Campbell Hatton (3-0) continues his education in the professional ranks when he takes on Spain’s Izan Dura (3-7) hot on the back of his comfortable points win over Jakub Laskowski on the first week of Matchroom Fight Camp.

‘The Albanian King’ Florian Marku (8-0-1, 6 KOs) looks to build on his impressive stoppage win over Rylan Charlton on the Avanesyan vs. Kelly undercard in February as he challenges Milan’s Maxim Prodan (19-0-1, 15 KOs) for the IBF International Welterweight Title and unbeaten Chicago Middleweight Christopher Ousley (12-0, 9 KOs) meets Russia’s Khasan Baysangurov (21-1, 11 KOs) for the WBA Intercontinental Title.

Anthony Joshua-Oleksandr Usyk set for 9/25 in London

Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World Anthony Joshua OBE will put his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO World Titles on the line against Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Saturday September 25, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and Ireland.
 
Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) dominated and then floored IBF Mandatory Challenger Kubrat Pulev to score a brutal ninth-round knockout at The SSE Arena, Wembley last time out in December in what was his first fight on UK soil since he stopped Alexander Povetkin in seven explosive rounds at Wembley Stadium back in September 2018. 
 
The Heavyweight division’s biggest attraction has sold-out stadiums and arenas around the world and now ‘AJ’ returns to the Capital for his fifth stadium fight looking to create more history as he faces his latest WBO Mandatory Challenger at the new state of the art home of Spurs, following in the footsteps of Frank Bruno MBE who defeated Joe Bugner in Matchroom Boxing’s first Heavyweight promotion at the old White Hart Lane in October 1987.
 
Ukrainian pound-for-pound star Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) made the move to the Heavyweight division after dominating at Cruiserweight, ending his extraordinary spell at 200lbs as the Undisputed king with a phenomenal run of victories in his opponent’s backyard against Marco Huck, Mairis Briedis, Murat Gassiev and Tony Bellew. 
 
The 2012 Olympic Gold medallist began his assault on the Heavyweight division by retiring Chazz Witherspoon in seven rounds at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago in October 2019 and continued his bid to become a two-weight World Champion when he outpointed Derek Chisora over 12 rounds at The SSE Arena, Wembley last October. 

 “The date is set and we are fully locked in,” said Joshua. “September 25, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, I put it all on the line again and it’s time to defend my crown. We are two Olympic Gold medallists who have fought our way to the top and never avoided challenges. 

“The stadium is exceptional, the atmosphere will be electric, I’m honoured to be the first person to fight in such an awe inspiring venue. The stage is set and I am ready to handle business.”

Photo: Mark Robinson/Matchroom

 

 

Khabib: ‘I really want to see Usyk versus Fury’

UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov says he wants to see former Undisputed Cruiserweight World Champion Oleksandr Usyk take on WBC Heavyweight ruler Tyson Fury.

Dana White hailed Russia’s Nurmagomedov as the ‘GOAT’ and pound-for-pound best after he sensationally retired following his second-round stoppage of Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi.

The undefeated Lightweight World Champion is a long-time fan of boxing, and was even spotted ringside for Anthony Joshua’s huge rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia last year, but it is Ukraine’s Usyk he wants to see share the ring with ‘The Gypsy King’, not ‘AJ’.

When asked for his assessment of the sport, prior to Vasiliy Lomachenko’s loss to Teofimo Lopez in Las Vegas, Khabib told reporters: “Right now, I think three guys. Oleksandr Usyk, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Canelo Alvarez.

“Oh sorry, Tyson Fury too. Four guys. It’s very hard [to decide] who is the best.

“I really want to see Usyk vs Fury. It’s gonna be a very good fight. He [Usyk] has very good skill and technique, Tyson Fury too.

“He is not like other Heavyweights, more technique, his footwork is very good, his conditioning is very good, I really wanna watch Usyk against Fury.”

Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) sits as WBO Mandatory Challenger to Joshua, but must first deal with an in-form Derek Chisora at The SSE Arena Wembley on Saturday, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in all of its nine markets including the U.S.

Usyk vs. Chisora tops a huge night of action, Lee Selby (28-2, 9 KOs) and George Kambosos Jr (18-0, 10 KOs) meet in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Lightweight World Title, Heavyweight fan favourite Dave Allen (18-5-2, 15 KOs) returns against America’s KO artist Christopher Lovejoy (19-0, 19 KOs), Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall (8-0, 6 KOs) takes on Glasgow’s Hannah Rankin (9-4, 2 KOs) for the vacant WBO Middleweight World Title, Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy (16-2, 8 KOs) meets Belgium’s Bilal Laggoune (25-1-2, 14 KOs) for the vacant European Cruiserweight Title and Amy Timlin (4-0) faces off with Carly Skelly (3-0) for the vacant Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight Title.

Chisora: ‘I will make sure that when Usyk gets out that ring he knows he has been in a fight’

Derek Chisora says Oleksandr Usyk is in store for the “fright of his life” when they collide in a Heavyweight Halloween blockbuster at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday October 31, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN in all of its nine markets including the U.S.

‘WAR’ Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) intends on giving Usyk nightmares in his second fight up at Heavyweight, and the Finchley powerhouse heads into next weekend’s clash in terrifying form having scored big knockout wins over Artur Szpika and David Price at The O2 in 2019.

“On October 31st, Oleksandr Usyk is going to get the fright of his life,” said Chisora. “He wants to claim he is at the top of the food chain, but if he wants to do that he needs to box a true Heavyweight. It’s a fight, the guy is going to chuck the kitchen sink at me. I’m just going to bite down on the gum shield and let god take over. I am coming for war!

“The fight sells itself, he is a good fighter and is loved by the English fans. Even people who don’t like boxing love watching him and he’s fighting myself. There is nothing bad about this fight, there’s not hatred, it’s all about the love for the sport.

“He’s not scary, it’s a fight. He’s a man and I’m a man. The worst thing that can happen is you get knocked out. I will make sure that when Usyk gets out that ring he knows he has been in a fight. Seek and destroy, no mercy! That’s what we’re aiming for.”

Usyk vs. Chisora tops a huge night of action, Lee Selby (28-2, 9 KOs) and George Kambosos Jr (18-0, 10 KOs) meet in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Lightweight World Title, Heavyweight fan favourite Dave Allen (18-5-2, 15 KOs) returns, Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall (8-0, 6 KOs) takes on Glasgow’s Hannah Rankin (9-4, 2 KOs) for the vacant WBO Middleweight World Title, Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy (16-2, 8 KOs) meets Belgium’s Bilal Laggoune (25-1-2, 14 KOs) for the vacant European Cruiserweight Title and Amy Timlin (4-0) faces off with Carly Skelly (3-0) for the vacant Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight Title.

Chisora on Usyk: ‘I think this fight will be the hardest fight I’ve ever had’

Derek Chisora says his colossal Heavyweight clash with Ukraine’s pound-for-pound star Oleksandr Usyk at The O2 in London on Saturday May 23, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US, will be the hardest fight that he’s ever had.

‘WAR’ Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) scored a devastating second round knockout over Poland’s Artur Szpilka at The O2 in July 2019, a year on from his incredible eighth round KO win against Carlos Takam at the same venue, before blitzing fellow Brit David Price in four rounds last October.

The Finchley favourite has breathed new life into his his career over the past 18 months and is now aiming to move himself back into World Title contention by claiming what would be a sensational upset win over the unbeaten Ukrainian star.

“It’s going to be leather,” said Chisora. “I’m already taking dancing lessons. The guy is going to be on fire man. He’s going to be dancing bro. He’s going to be dancing. Where can you get guys who can be sparring like him? Nowhere. The guy is a dancer. He’s going to dance.

“It’s going to be hard, I’m not going to lie to you. I think this fight will be the hardest fight I’ve ever had. Not because the guy hasn’t got power, but because of the accuracy of his punches and the way he chucks them. When he chucks them he’s unbelievable.

“I’m going to have to eat leather, I’m not going to lie to you. I’m going to eat leather. I’m probably going to take five before I get one in there, but it is what it is. I eat that sh*t for breakfast. The hunger remains and the dedication is the same.”

2012 Olympic Gold medallist Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) cemented his place as one of the finest fighters on the planet with a phenomenal run of victories in his opponents’ backyard that saw him crowned the Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion of the World, and Chisora confesses to being an admirer of his next opponent.

“We can’t sell this fight by insulting the guy. It’s a fight for boxing fans. If I say ‘f*ck you’ to him he’s going to think I said, ‘good morning’. He doesn’t understand any English. He’s a good guy. There’s nothing wrong about this guy.

“He’s a funny guy, he loves life, he likes everything. He’s a boy’s boy – he’s cool. I can’t really say anything bad about this man. He’s done so much in four years. He’s done great for himself. He’s amazing, I’m a big fan of his.”

Usyk to battle Chazz Witherspoon on 10/12

Oleksandr Usyk will face Chazz Witherspoon on his Heavyweight debut at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago on Saturday night, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Witherspoon (38-3 29 KOs) second cousin of former two-time World Heavyweight ruler Tim Witherspoon, is unbeaten in five years with his last win coming in March in Atlantic City over Santiago Silgado and now the 38 year old Philadelphian gets a huge opportunity to pull off a massive upset as Ukrainian pound-for-pound king Usyk moves up to Heavyweight after leaving the Cruiserweight division as the undisputed ruler.

“I can’t wait to face Usyk in Chicago,” said Witherspoon. “I have been in training ready for a big fight, and it doesn’t get bigger than this. Oleksandr is stepping up to Heavyweight – and he’s going to find out that it’s a totally different game.

“I’ve won my last eight fights and I really feel that I’ve been waiting in the wings for a huge opportunity like this and I am going to put every ounce of myself into the fight on this massive stage.”

Witherspoon replaces Tyrone Spong in the main event on the stacked card in the Windy City after there were adverse findings in two of Spong’s urine samples. As a result, the Illinois State Athletic Commission will not license Tyrone to box and rescinded their approval of the bout with Usyk.

Usyk’s Heavyweight bow against Witherspoon is part of a huge night of World championship action in Chicago as Dmitry Bivol defends his WBA World Light-Heavyweight title against Lenin Castillo and unified Super-Lightweight champion Jessica McCaskill defends her WBA and WBC titles against old foe Erica Farias.

Unbeaten Super-Middleweight talent Anthony Sims Jr returns to action against Morgan Fitch, Charles Conwell defends his USBA Super-Welterweight title against Patrick Day, an all-Chicago Super-Featherweight clash between Josh Hernandez and Giovanni Mioletti, former World title challenger TJ Doheny returns to the ring, Reshat Mati is back after recovering from a shoulder injury and a fourth pro outing for rising starlet Otha Jones III.

Photo: Marchroom Boxing