By: Sean Crose
“I am pleased to be here today,” WBA,WBO and IBF heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk said on Wednesday at a London press conference to promote his August 20th rematch against Anthony Joshua. “I am very happy to get the opportunity to fight in Saudi Arabia and help open new horizons for the sport of boxing. I love to travel around the world and fight in places for the first time.” Sure enough, Usyk-Joshua 2 will be going down in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. After winning Joshua’s titles last September in London, Ukraine’s Usyk will now find himself fighting even farther from home. Not that it bothers the undefeated titlist.
“I am not fighting for money or any recognition,” he said. “I am just doing my job now and will continue fighting until my heart keeps beating. I am not expecting anything from Anthony Joshua, but I know that he will be different, but so will I.” Usyk is wise to suspect things will be different against Joshua in their rematch, for Joshua has hooked up with noted American trainer Robert Garcia as he prepares to face Usyk once again.
“The whole team,” said Garcia, who was also at the press conference, “everybody around us, is very positive. We have to do whatever is takes. We have to come out with different strategies in case one doesn’t work. We’ll be ready for the fight.” According to Garcia, Joshua is working well and trusting his expertise. “Anthony is listening. He believes in us and that’s the most important thing. In the ring he’s got to come out and do what we tell him to do.” Garcia also knows a bit about Usyk, which can come in handy for Joshua.
“Usyk is a great fighter,” he said. “I’ve known him since a few years back when he came to my gym a few times to train. He’s a very talented fighter. He’s got very different ways to fight. Seeing the size difference, the height, the reach, the weight – everything is in Anthony’s advantage. We’ve got to take advantage of that. We’ve got to train him to focus on that and come fight night do what we need to do to win.”
As for Joshua, he made it clear that he’s aware of what he has to do to earn his belts back and is working hard to assure that he does. “It is a rough and tough sport,” he admitted. “Fighting these lefties is a nightmare! And I cannot make the same mistake twice. I am hungry and desperate but at the end of the day how I perform will speak.”