Joshua May Take Interim Fight While He Waits For Usyk Rematch

Eddie Hearn says there would be no issue for Anthony Joshua taking an interim fight should he have to wait for his rematch against Oleksandr Usyk.

A fight that was once set for May now looks highly unlikely after Usyk travelled back to Ukraine to play his part in his country’s ongoing war with Russia. The WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion has joined the territorial defence battalion and told CNN this week that he did not know when he would fight again.

Joshua lost his three titles last year to Usyk and parted ways with long-time trainer Robert McCracken in the aftermath. While a new cornerman has not been announced ‘AJ’ has spent time in America getting work in with various coaches as he attempts to rectify the mistakes that caused his second professional defeat. 

Hearn told The MMA Hour, hosted by Ariel Helwani, that Usyk can have the time he needs but the rematch remains a priority for them.

“Firstly, our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine,” said Hearn. 

“People showing incredible bravery out there especially some of the great fighters from the past (Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko) and Oleksandr as well. He can have the time that he needs. We don’t want any other fight other than Oleksandr Usyk so whether there’s a delay to that fight and we have an interim bout, I guess that’s subject to the situation with Oleksandr Usyk and how much time that he needs. 

“It’s a very emotional and personal time for the people of Ukraine so we respect them [Usyk’s team], give them all the time but we wouldn’t be looking to get out of our obligation is what I’m saying. The only fight that AJ wants right now is Oleksandr Usyk. If we have to fight in between, no problem at all but we’ll respect this time for Oleksandr Usyk. We’ll speak to his advisors and if there needs to be a delay to the contractual period, we will be happy to grant that, but we want that fight and we don’t want that obligation to slide away.”