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

Usyk talks preparation for heavyweight debut

Oleksandr Usyk is closing in on a heavyweight debut that he’s been preparing for since his amateur days as he faces Tyrone Spong at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago on Saturday October 12, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Usyk (16-0 12 KOs) has made the move to Heavyweight after dominating at Cruiserweight, ending his spell at 200lbs as the undisputed king with a phenomenal run of victories in his opponents’ backyard against Marco Huck, Mairis Breidis, Murat Gassiev and Tony Bellew.

The Ukrainian pound-for-pound star begins his bid to become a two-weight World ruler against Spong (14-0 13 KOs) in the Windy City, but Usyk says his rise to Heavyweight began back in his amateur days, so moving to join the big guns holds no fear for the 32 year old.

“There have been no problems in order to move to the Heavyweight division,” said Usyk. “At least to me there have been no problems. I simply moved to the Heavyweight division, and that was it. Virtually nothing has changed in my training, we’ve simply started doing even more work. Different, and hard work, which is practicing with big guys who pose a great threat.

“We’re working hard, smiling, going crazy during the training camp, and doing our job. Everyone who is in my camp does their job 100 percent meaning that they give everything so that I feel comfortable. Everything is as comfortable as possible; the food, rehab, resting, massage, training. My team is looking after all of it and we are working hard together.

“Before the Olympics, and even before the World Championships, when I was boxing at 91 kilos, we were experimentally boxing in the Heavyweight class specifically so that it would be more dangerous. I weighed in at a competition, for example, not 91 kilos but 91.5, and was boxing against the guys weighing 100-102-105, which was our objective. And it was not only I who was boxing one class up, Vasiliy Lomachenko was, Oleksandr Gvozdyk and all of those who were part of that golden Ukrainian team.

“I’m really looking forward to boxing on October 12. I very much missed the boxing. I love boxing, and really there is a lot of talk about it, but I’m not paying attention to it. My objective is to do my job in the gym in order to show all the enthusiasts and fans great boxing in the ring.”

Usyk’s Heavyweight bow against Spong is part of a huge night of action in Chicago as 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 and a fourth pro outing for rising starlet Otha Jones III.

Photo/courtesy: Matchroom Boxing

Usyk out with injury; Haney to headline show on May 25

Devin Haney will headline on his DAZN debut against Antonio Moran on Saturday May 25 at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Oleksandr Usyk was scheduled to make his heavyweight debut against Carlos Takam, but Usyk was forced to withdraw due to injury.

Haney (21-0 13 KOs) announced a co-promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA last week and now the Lightweight sensation will headline against Moran (24-3 17 KOs), the 26 year old who has stopped four of his last five opponents and was narrowly edged out by Jose Pedraza in June.

‘The Dream’ will be hunting World title action in the second half of 2019, sitting at number three in the WBC, five in the WBA, eight with the WBO and ten with the IBF, and the 20 year old Las Vegas ace will be looking to underline his lofty position in the rankings with a stellar showing in Maryland.

“It’s unfortunate that Oleksandr Usyk had to pull out because of injury,” said Haney. “I wish him a fast and speedy recovery. I’m very happy Matchroom and DAZN made the right choice in making me the main event.

“The MGM National Harbor will be the perfect place for me to show up and show out at. The fans in this area of the world really know boxing. I will put on a great show for them. I’m the future of this sport and on May 25 I will show the world how much I’ve grown inside the ring.”

A stacked card in support of Haney sees Chicago’s WBC World Super-Lightweight champion Jessica McCaskill (6-2 3 KOs) aims to unify the division against Argentine WBA ruler Anahi Sanchez (19-3), Croatian Heavyweight star Filip Hrgovic (7-0 5 KOs) faces Gregory Corbin (15-1 9 KOs) and Las Vegas Heavyweight Michael Hunter (16-1 11 KOs) will look to continue his great run of KO wins.

“We know that Devin is a future superstar but Usyk’s unfortunate injury now gives Devin the chance to headline first time out on DAZN,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Moran will give Devin the toughest test of his career so far, last year he dropped a close decision to WBO World champ Jose Pedraza and is coming off an impressive knockout victory.

“Heavyweight action remains on the card with two top 15 ranked fighters Michael Hunter and Flip Hrgovic who are both searching for a shot at the World heavyweight title and Jessica McCaskill and Anahi Sanchez face off in an exciting World title unification. It’s going to be a great night of boxing and I expect Devin Haney to steal the show in Maryland!”

Photo: Matchroom Boxing