Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn says they’ve activated the rematch clause for Antony Joshua to face Oleksandr Usyk in a second fight in early 2022.
Still feeling the after-effects of having been dethroned on September 25th, Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) wants to gain revenge for his 12 round unanimous decision loss to the former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs).
Joshua was totally dominated by Usyk last month at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium in London in front of 60,000 of his own loyal boxing fans.
It’s a risky move on Joshua and Hearn’s part because if Usyk wins again, it’s going to create havoc with AJ’s career. Losing repeatedly to Usyk is not a good thing, particularly when Joshua still trying to regain his bearings after being knocked out by Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019.
Interestingly, Joshua and Hearn have shown no enthusiasm for accepting the step aside offer may by Top Rank promoter Bob Arum to have AJ step aside so that Tyson Fury can face Usyk instead.
Arum wants to help Joshua artificially keep him near the top of the division by having Fury take on Usyk for him.
The Top Rank promoter Arum believes that Usyk has Joshua’s number, and will beat him again in the rematch without any doubt. But if Fury defeats Usyk to get him out of the way, Joshua and the Gypsy King can meet for the undisputed championship in the second half of 2022.
Arum’s idea could work well because AJ and Fury can meet in a massive money fight next year, as long as Tyson wins his fight tonight against Deontay Wilder at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Hearn says he already casually mentioned Arum’s step aside deal with Joshua and he was NOT on board with agreeing with it. He’s got a lot of pride obviously and doesn’t want to accept that he’s not good enough to beat Usyk.
Joshua likely believes that he can go back to training camp and come up with a great game plan to defeat Usyk just like he did when he avenged his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. in December 2019. It’s a different situation, though.
Ruiz Jr. ate himself into obesity going into his rematch with Joshua, and he didn’t train as hard as he needed to for him to win. Who knows what would have happened if Ruiz Jr. had stayed in shape and kept working out hard before his second fight with AJ.
Usyk is not going to ease off, and he knows that Joshua will probably try and impose his size on him to overpower him.