Anthony Joshua could be forced to wait another two weeks to face Oleksandr Usyk in their heavyweight world title rematch.
The pair first met for the belts back in September, and even though Joshua almost immediately invoked his rematch clause, the fight has yet to happen. The war in Ukraine pushed Usyk away from the sport for some time, but he has left the frontlines and now is laser-focused on defending his belts against the Brit.
Saudi Arabia is going to host the mega-money fight, with Joshua and Usyk both expected to make tens of millions for their participation. But the long-mooted July 23 date could be pushed a further two weeks to accommodate issues with the paperwork for the event.
Promoter Eddie Hearn told iFL TV that the venue and date were all but done, but that if there were to be a delay it would be no more than two weeks. “We have agreed to a deal for the site, and the working date of July 23,” he said.
“We are pretty much ready to announce. When you question about whether there will be a delay. If there is you’re talking about two weeks, and it’s for no other reason than time to make sure we can promote the fight in the right way.
“The fight is happening, the fight is agreed in terms of where it will take place and both sides have agreed, both sides have agreed to the deal, both sides have agreed to everything.”
However, they hit a minor snag with get the fight signed and sealed, which could cause a further delay. Hearn has been promising an imminent announcement for weeks, and last week declared that he had another big fight to confirm around the same time that he made Canelo Alvarez’s trilogy with Gennady Golovkin official.
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“It’s just that it’s taken 10 days longer than we wanted it to,” he continued. “Without putting a date on it, all I can tell you is we’re finalising the final bit of paperwork and everything is agreed, so stand by.
“July 23, two weeks later is August – AJ is fighting twice this year. So any delay could only be a couple of weeks because we want to make sure he’s good to go in December again. July 23 is still the working date, but if there was a delay, it wouldn’t be [because of] anybody. It’s just time.
“It’s a huge deal, and it has taken a lot of time, but deals do. It’s just the way it is. We’re really happy with our partners, we’re really happy with the deal, and the process. We look forward to a huge event, and you’ll be hearing about it very soon.”