Anthony Joshua to defend heavyweight belts vs. Oleksandr Usyk on Sept. 25
Mandatory fight set for London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Anthony Joshua had hoped to put his three major heavyweight world title belts on the line against champion Tyson Fury in a unification fight the undisputed title on Aug. 14 in Saudi Arabia, but when that fight fell through because Fury was forced to face Deontay Wilder again as a result of a loss in an arbitration case, Joshua made other plans.
It will be a long expected and overdue WBO mandatory title defense against former undisputed cruiserweight champion and fellow 2012 London Olympic gold medalist Oleksandr Usyk. Joshua won gold in the super heavyweight division and Usyk in the heavyweight division.
The fight, which Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced on Tuesday, will take place on Sept. 25 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, the first boxing event to take place at the stadium.
The fight will air on Sky Sports Box Office in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It will likely stream on DAZN in the United States and around the rest of the world pending the expected broadcast deal being finalized.
“Olympic Gold versus Olympic Gold, unified world heavyweight champion versus (former) undisputed cruiserweight world champion -- this one has it all and I can’t wait to stage this huge event in front of over 60,000 at the stunning Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sept. 25,” Hearn said.
Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs), 31, of England, will be making the second defense of his second title reign. He is coming off a one-sided ninth-round knockout of IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev in December at the SSE Arena, Wembley in London before a limited crowd of about 1,000 due to the pandemic. Joshua-Pulev was originally scheduled to open Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for boxing in June 2020 but postponed because of the pandemic.
“The date is set and we are fully locked in,” Joshua said. “Sept. 25, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, I put it all on the line again and it’s time to defend my crown. We are two Olympic Gold medalists who have fought our way to the top and never avoided challenges.
“The stadium is exceptional. The atmosphere will be electric. I’m honored to be the first person to fight in such an awe inspiring venue. The stage is set and I am ready to handle business.”
Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs), a 34-year-old southpaw from Ukraine, vacated the undisputed cruiserweight title in late 2018 and moved up to heavyweight. Injuries and the pandemic have kept him relatively inactive but he has won both of his fights in the division, a knockout of Chazz Witherspoon in October 2019 in Chicago followed by a competitive decision against former title challenger Dereck Chisora in his most recent bout this past October in London.
“The path will be mastered by the walking one,” Usyk said.
Said Alexander Krassyuk of Usyk promoter K2 Promotions, “Let the best man win, and we will see you again for the rematch.”