We didn’t (yet) get Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury as hoped, but the alternative is still fantastic.
Matchroom Boxing announced on Tuesday that Joshua will put his IBF, WBA, and WBO heavyweight belts on the line against former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk on September 25th at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. With the United Kingdom lifting COVID-19 restrictions on July 19th (even though there’s been a rise in daily cases), clearance has been given for full capacity sporting events and this venue can seat over 60,000 spectators.
Sky Box Office will have the PPV in the UK, whereas the rest of the world can see the bout live on DAZN.
Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) hasn’t fought since he knocked out IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev last December. He may have won his first world title against Charles Martin in 2016 but he didn’t arrive as a true superstar until he knocked out Wladimir Klitschko in an absolute classic in 2017. He’s since beaten Carlos Takam, Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin, Andy Ruiz Jr (after losing his titles to him in a stunning 2019 upset), and Pulev.
Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) tore through the cruiserweight division on his way to becoming the sole possessor of the four major boxing belts. Even more impressive is that the Ukrainian consistently went on the road throughout his championship run. In 2016 he beat Krzysztof Glowacki to win the WBO belt in Poland, defended it against Michael Hunter in the US, then versus Marco Huck in Germany, took the WBC belt off of Mairis Briedis in Latvia, then became undisputed champ by schooling Murat Gassiev in Russia. Oh yeah, and he ended his cruiserweight run by knocking out Tony Bellew in the UK.
As a heavyweight, Usyk has recorded a stoppage over short notice replacement Chazz Witherspoon and a decision over Dereck Chisora. He was the WBO mandatory challenger to Joshua, so with Joshua-Fury shelved for now he is slotted in for a mega-fight.
Another unique angle for this matchup is that both Joshua and Usyk won Olympic gold at the 2012 London games.
By the way, September 25th is the same date as UFC 266 in Las Vegas, but since Joshua vs. Usyk is in London the time zone difference will be wide enough that they’ll pretty much run back-to-back. Knock on wood for no cancellations as this could be a truly massive day for combat sports.
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