Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk is potentially being planned for July 23rd in Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, the July date isn’t ideal for putting together the undisputed heavyweight championship in 2022.
Moving the fight to July might help Joshua, as he looks mentally confused after his loss to Usyk. That was AJ’s second defeat in his last four fights, a signal that things were not well with him.
Moving the rematch from Usyk to July could allow Joshua to get a good mental grasp of what happened last time and make the proper corrections so it won’t happen again.
Right now, it’s not looking good for Joshua to get his act together in time for the July 23rd rematch.
Dan Rafael said the Joshua-Usyk 2 rematch is being discussed for July, which isn’t surprising because Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) has been fighting a war in Ukraine and hasn’t had the time to train all these months the way that Joshua has.
Boxing fans won’t be happy waiting an additional month, as they thought the Joshua vs. Usyk II would take place in June.
Scheduling it for July means it’ll be ten months since the two last fought on September 25th, 2021, in Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium in London.
That’s a long time in between fights. The war in Ukraine is the leading cause for the delay of the rematch, but it’s possible that we wouldn’t have seen Joshua vs. Usyk 2 even if things were going well.
Joshua’s decision to change out his trainer Rob McCracken has helped drag things out. If AJ had just stayed with McCracken, things would have gone quicker.
You can argue that Joshua doesn’t need a new trainer to know how to fight Usyk in the rematch. Joshua’s decision to change trainers shows where his self-confidence is right now, and it’s implausible a new trainer will have any more positive impact than if he’d stayed with McCracken.
As you would expect, it will take time to negotiate a deal between the Joshua-Usyk winner and the winner of this month’s fight between WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte.
If the negotiations drag out, something highly possible, we won’t see the undisputed championship until the first quarter of 2023.
If Usyk and Fury are the two that emerge as the winners of the next fight, negotiations would likely go much faster than if it were Joshua-Fury.
You can imagine that talks between Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) and Fury would be glacially slow, taking many months. What could be even more time-consuming is if Whyte beats Fury, and he’s the one negotiating with the Joshua vs. Usyk winner.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn wants to stage the rematch with Usyk in the UK, likely Wembley Stadium. He feels it’s essential to place the fight in the UK, and you can understand why.
Joshua fights a lot better with the crowd behind him cheering him on. If AJ is going to have his best chance of righting the wrongs from what took last September against Usyk, he MUST have the home country advantage.
That probably won’t sit too well with Usyk and his team, especially if the money they get is less than if the rematch were staged in Saudi Arabia.
As the winner of the previous fight, IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Usyk and his team should have the rematch staged on the neutral ground against Joshua.
Joshua needs as much time as possible with his new trainer to fix all the problems from the last fight, which were a carryover from his performances against 40-year-old Kubrat Pulev and Andy Ruiz Jr.
The things that went wrong for Joshua lately in terms of his punch resistance, stamina, and ring IQ aren’t going to be improved with a new trainer. Those are fixed flaws that will be permanently there for Joshua.