Anthony Joshua ‘desperate’ to win Oleksandr Usyk rematch
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Anthony Joshua may have boasted a weight advantage of almost 20 pounds when he lost to Oleksandr Usyk last September, but the scales may be considerably closer this time around. The heavyweight duo are set to collide in the Rage on the Red Sea, which takes place in Jeddah on Saturday.
And Usyk, 35, has sent his opponent an ominous warning in regards to the difference in mass ahead of the second salvo. Asked about his weight in the build-up to the showdown in Saudi Arabia, the Ukrainian responded simply: “You’ll see on the scales.”
Anticipation is intensifying ahead of Friday’s weigh-ins, with many watching Usyk’s training updates with keen interest leading up to the bout. His regime has included three training sessions on some days, swimming up to five hours at a time as he prepares to defend the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles he won last year.
In addition, the duo will fight for the vacant The Ring belt after Tyson Fury recently vacated it. However, ‘The Gypsy King’ will hang onto his WBC crown for the time being, having announced his ‘retirement’ following April’s knockout win over Dillian Whyte.
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Despite the obvious deficit in size, Usyk successfully used that to his advantage at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where he convincingly out-boxed Joshua over 12 rounds. ‘The Cat’ displayed sharper intellect and reflexes to hand ‘AJ’ just the second loss of his professional career.
Having previously ascended to the top of the cruiserweight division, Usyk now has a clear pathway to unite the belts among boxing’s biggest talents. It’s been speculated a second straight win over 24-2 Joshua could set up a unification showdown against Fury in future.
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Joshua has been training under Robert Garcia and Angel Fernandez after making a change to his coaching set-up following his second loss in four fights. The Olympic gold medal-winner spent the majority of his training camp in Loughborough but recently flew out to Jeddah to acclimatise ahead of his make-or-break matchup.
While his training isn’t likely to have been a breeze in the past, Joshua recently referred to this camp as ‘brain-fatiguing’. Fight fans will find out Saturday night whether it’s had the desired impact, with the Briton desparately trying to restore his status among the world’s top heavyweights.
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