WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk and challenger Anthony Joshua took centre stage to speak to the world about their August 20 rematch at the Jeddah Super Dome in Saudi Arabia.
The media tour will also take both men to London before they can concentrate on getting back to training for their pivotal fight in boxing’s glamour division.
Usyk, who will be making the first defence of the belts he won from Joshua last September said:
“I am very happy to be here in Saudi Arabia. It is very pleasant for me and my team. We are doing what we have to do to achieve our goals”
“I have never made any loud or bright speeches. To become World Champion all I did was work hard in my training camp and gym. That’s what I am going to do until the day of the fight and my boxing will make me happy.”
Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk doubted the fight would go ahead due to the current war in Ukraine. The situation intensified for Team Usyk when the champion chose to return to his homeland and join in the fight against Russia’s invasion.
“Probably in February and March, we had to face the challenge of war in our country. We were not sure that this fight would take place,” said Krassyuk. “But finally, we put ourselves together, we made the decision to get into the fight, and now we are here representing our country Ukraine with pride in our hearts. We are representing out country here in the new destination of sports in the world here in Saudi Arabia. Let the best man win. We’ll see you again for the Undisputed fight.”
Should Joshua pull off what would be the biggest victory of his glittering career a blockbuster undisputed fight against Tyson Fury would be demanded by the public. The British star has had to endure some bumps along the way but says they remain on course for the biggest showdown in boxing.
“Things happen in life, but resilience, mental toughness and consistency will always prevail. We’re still on the road, we’re still on the road to Undisputed for sure. It’s just a little blip in the road but I’m focused on the target which is sitting over there (points to Usyk).”
Joshua took his second career defeat on the chin and moved on to make changes to his team by hiring Robert Garcia as his new trainer. Between the two of them they are confident the result at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which ended his second term as unified champion, can be reversed.
“The fight with Usyk, he bust my ass for some rounds.”
“I have to take that defeat like a man as well. I hold myself accountable. I’m someone who can admit when I’m wrong and hold my head high when I’m right. The fight in September, he was right, and I was wrong. Simply, I have to reverse that role on August 20th.”
Garcia who was sat next to Joshua officially for the first time as his new coach said:
“I see a different Anthony now; the way he thinks and the way he talks.”
“Everything he’s practising and everything he’s doing in the gym; I think he fought the wrong fight but that’s the past.”
“I think without a doubt we’re going to have a three-time Heavyweight Champion of the World. We’ve got to be prepared for everything. Usyk is a great fighter, he’s got skills, reflexes, accuracy – he’s got everything. I think Anthony has the tools to beat him.”
“I want my first Heavyweight Champion of the World, I’ve had 14 World Champions, he will be my 15th, but he will be my first Heavyweight Champion of the World and that’s big for me too.”