Unified heavyweight champion of the world Oleksandr Usyk has confirmed via a post on Instagram that he will participate in a rematch with Anthony Joshua next after being stationed at a defence battalion in war-torn home country Ukraine for the last month. The post was uploaded on Friday, captioned ‘I decided to start preparing for a rematch with Anthony Joshua, a large number of my friends support me, all the rest of the good and peace. Thank God for everything’.
The announcement concludes a week where rumours have been circulating as to whether the rematch for the IBF, WBA and WBO titles will be next or whether Usyk will decide to stay and defend Ukraine with Joshua taking a fight in the interim. ESPN’s Mike Coppinger revealed on Thursday that, due to an exception in Ukrainian martial law which allows any man between aged eighteen to sixty and that have three or more children to leave the country if they wish to do so. Usyk’s long-term friend and three-division champion Vasiliy Lomachenko could have been granted permission to train for a fight against unified lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr., but ‘Loma’ decided to stay and defend his country against the Vladimir Putin regime.
All eyes now turn to possible dates and venues for a huge showdown between Usyk and ‘AJ’, the Brit losing comfortably on points in September following a superb performance from the Ukrainian. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed to multiple media outlets this week that the pair will likely run it back some time in June with no location locked down as of now.