Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua are finally ready to reunite in the ring.
The long-awaited unified heavyweight title fight rematch has a confirmed date and location, set to take place August 20 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Ukraine's Usyk will defend his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO title nearly eleven months after dethroning Joshua last September at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London.
“I have a goal, with the help of the Lord I will complete my mission," Usyk said, guaranteeing a repeat win over the former two-time heavyweight titlist.
“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."
Usyk (19-0, 13KOs) became a two-division champion following his upset win over Joshua, coming more than three years after fully unifying the cruiserweight division in 2018. The unbeaten 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and reigning heavyweight titlist has dethroned four separate titleholders all in their home country in a remarkable pound-for-pound run.
Joshua (24-2, 22KOs) won his first title in 2016, unifying all belts but the WBC strap along the way before suffering a seventh-round knockout to Andy Ruiz in June 2019. The 2012 Olympic Gold medalist in the super heavyweight division regained his slew of titles in a decision win over Ruiz in their December 2019 rematch in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Just one successful defense came of Joshua's second reign, a ninth-round stoppage of Kubrat Pulev in December 2020. The hulking Brit from Watford, England now returns to the desert in a bid to become a three-time champion.
“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," noted Joshua, who will work with renowned trainer Robert Garcia for the rematch. "A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter and I am the happiest and most motivated I have been."
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox