Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has a lot of irons in the fire right now, and one is the impending rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua, which Hearn says he expects will happen in May.
Usyk (19-0, 13 KO) took the WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles from Joshua (24-2, 22 KO) last September at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, and though it was a mandatory bout and thus a rematch clause was not necessary, the two sides did agree to one going into that fight.
Joshua exercised that clause, and when a late attempt to make Tyson Fury vs Usyk didn’t come through — Fury is now slated to face WBC mandatory Dillian Whyte — the rematch was back on, and Hearn says they’re working on getting it done and announced soon.
“We’re looking at potential sites, we’ve got meetings next week around the world to look at where that fight might take place,” Hearn told iFL TV. “I’d love it to take place in London. I think it’ll take place in May, and we’ll speak to (Team Usyk) and get that nailed on, and hopefully get it announced before the end of the month.”
About the Fury-Usyk attempt, Hearn said that both Usyk and Joshua really preferred to go through with their rematch in the first place.
“But we got approached, a plan might have made sense, and everyone was willing to discuss that plan,” he said. “Then when it fell through, it was just a conversation with (Usyk promoter) Alex Krassyuk, like, 10 days ago, to say, ‘Come on, then, let’s get it moving.’ We’ve got a great relationship with (Team Usyk), they’re great to work with, easy to work with. We all know what we’ve got to do. It’s not like we’ve got to do a deal, the deal’s done, we’ve just got to decide where it’s going to take place and that’s the plan over the next week or so.”
With Fury-Whyte rumored for April 23, that’s a date that, quite obviously, Matchroom would avoid for Usyk-Joshua 2, as is May 7. Hearn named May 14 and May 21 as possible landing dates for the bout, and says that as far as UK TV goes, no decision has been made, with Joshua still a cash cow for TV in his home country.
“He’s had a lot of approaches, we’ve been going through them and he’ll look through those opportunities and make a decision. You’ll get an announcement when the fight is confirmed,” Hearn said. “(Joshua’s) focused on his boxing. I don’t even think there’s really been too many conversations with Anthony about the TV deal yet, because he’s just driven to improve in the gym and driven to beat Oleksandr Usyk. We’ve been going through offers coming in, and we’ll propose those and put those forward to AJ. He’s the boss and he’ll make the decision.”
Matchroom are exclusively with DAZN in the United Kingdom now, but Joshua is not himself tied to DAZN in any region, though all of his fights since the launch of DAZN in the United States in 2018 have aired on the streaming service, and it’s expected that for American fans, Usyk-Joshua 2 would again be a DAZN strema.
In the UK, there is the chance that they could work with Sky Sports or BT Sport on a one-fight pay-per-view deal, or we could see Matchroom open up a pay-per-view arm for DAZN in the United Kingdom, which Eddie has talked about before, saying back in October that Usyk-Joshua 2 “is not going to go as part of your DAZN subscription, being quite frank with you.”