By Charles Brun: Anthony Joshua’s long-awaited rematch with IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk will be delayed until mid-August due to a broadcast deal for AJ as well as the time needed for the Saudis to build an air-conditioned stadium for the fight.
Gareth A Davies of the Telegraph Sport is reporting the news of the Joshua vs. Usyk II rematch being pushed back into mid-August, and boxing fans are hopping mad about it, complaining bitterly about it on social media today.
The Joshua-Usyk 2 fight had been pegged for July 23rd in Saudi Arabia, but unfortunately, that was too soon for all the things that needed to be done before this match could take place.
On top of the broadcast deal and the new stadium that needs to be built, Joshua, 32, perhaps needs more time to work with his replacement trainer Robert Garcia.
On Monday, it was announced that Robert would be the new coach for the former unified heavyweight champion Joshua. For Joshua to learn all the roughhouse tricks that the 47-year-old Garcia will be teaching him, it will take time.
It’s believed that Garcia will be giving Joshua a cram course in how to rough up the smaller Usyk and impose his size & strength on the champion. Joshua could be wasting his time by swapping out trainers in favor of Robert Garcia because for these two to work, AJ would need a chin & cardio.
Unfortunately for Joshua, he’s lacking in both of those areas, and he’s not going to make improvements with Garcia to fix those inherent flaws.
This delay means that Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) will have been out of the ring for eleven months since being dethroned by the former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) last September in London, England.
“Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Oleksandr Usyk for three of the four world heavyweight title belts originally scheduled for July 23 in Saudi Arabia has been delayed until mid-August,” said Gareth A Davies to the Telegraph Sports.
“The delay to the contest being announced has centered around the broadcast deal for Joshua, with Sky having secured the two-time world champion for its Box Office channel in the UK, while sports streaming platform DAZN will take the international rights for the Londoner.
It’s expected that a further two-to-three weeks will be required to work through the existing issues around the broadcast deals,” said Davies.
The delay could work in Usyk’s favor because he lost a lot of muscle weight during the war in his country and needs to put it back on. An extra two weeks could help Usyk put on a pound or two for the fight.
Joshua looked terrible against Usyk last September, seemingly afraid to mix it up with him after tasting his power early on.
Even when Joshua did attempt to impose his size on Usyk in the 12th, he was nailed by a storm of shots from the highly motivated challenger, and within seconds of being knocked out at the time, the contest ended.