Anthony Joshua ‘desperate’ to win Oleksandr Usyk rematch
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The long-awaited rematch between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk will finally take place in Saudi Arabia tonight [Saturday] as ‘AJ’ seeks to avenge his defeat from last September and regain his world heavyweight titles. And as well as the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO belts, the pair will square off for The Ring Magazine crown as well after it was vacated by the seemingly retired Tyson Fury.
But regardless of who comes out on top at the Jeddah Super Dome, neither fighter will be travelling home empty handed. In fact, both Joshua, 32, and Usyk, 35, are both set for the most lucrative night of their distinguished careers.
The decision to hold the bout in Saudi has come under criticism, given the ongoing ‘sportswashing’ debate over the country’s deplorable human rights record. And the sums on offer to stars have proved a divisive topic, not just in boxing but in sports such as F1 and most recently, golf.
The hosts have stumped up an initial fee of £65 million for the boxers to share between them, but the exact amount the pair will rake in won’t be apparent until all is said and done. According to inews, both heavyweights could make in excess of £100 million for their night of work.
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That’s once ticket sales and pay-per-view buys are taken are into account, while other reports state both men will walk away with a minimum £33m each. A sell-out crowd of 35,000 people is expected, and the timing of the event in Jeddah should ensure a huge box office audience amongst British fans, with the city just two hours ahead of the UK on time.
That means the opening bell should be sounded at about 11pm, a far cry from when fights are staged in America and supporters on the shores are essentially forced to stay up through the night to watch the action live. So win or lose, the 2012 Olympic champion can look forward to a figure far greater when he last appeared in the Middle East.
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He made around £66 million in 2019 when he beat Andy Ruiz Jr, also in Saudi, gaining revenge for his first professional defeat. Prior to that, his dramatic victory over Wladimir Klitschko in 2017 represented the first time he had broken the £10 million barrier.
But for whoever does prevail, an even more financially rewarding night could lie in store. The victor is expected to call out Fury for an enticing unification bout, which would unify the heavyweight division and be in contention for the richest bout of all time.
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