Tyson Fury has backtracked on his decision to rule out a December bout with Anthony Joshua after giving his rival until the end of Thursday to agree terms.

WBC champion Fury opened the door for a 'Battle of Britain' with Joshua last month after it became clear a unification bout against Oleksandr Usyk would not occur this year.

After weeks of talks between the fighters' camps, however, Fury said on Monday any chance of the pair meeting was "officially over" after his self-imposed deadline was not met.

But Fury set Joshua, who has lost three of his past five fights, a new deadline in his latest video message on social media that was directed at the two-time world champion.

"My promoter Frank Warren convinced me to let Queensberry [Warren's company] carry on negotiating with your team this week, despite me knowing you were never going to do this fight," Fury said.

"So the deadline was Monday. I allowed Frank to continue doing meetings with your team and your broadcasters and all that."

Fury said the broadcasters were "all on the same page".

"They are happy with everything, they are all ready to rock and roll," he added.

"You guys ask for a lot of stuff. You want to be co-promoters when you're a voluntary challenger. Guess what, I said give it them, let them be co-promoters.

"You wanted full transparency, even though you're not an equal shareholder in this party. You know what I said? Give them full transparency, I've got nothing to hide.

"I'm not trying to rob anybody, I've not robbed anybody of a penny in my life. Now you've got full transparency, everything is clean and fair. Joshua, the ball is really in your court."

Fury revealed earlier this month that he has offered Joshua a 60-40 purse split in a bid to get the heavyweight title fight made after years of build-up.

Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn said last week an initial contract offer sent by Fury's camp was not acceptable, but the parties were "working positively" to reach an agreement.

That led to Fury making his ultimatum to Joshua to sign the contract by Monday or forget about a fight, which had been set to be held in Cardiff's Principality Stadium.

"Everybody is done," Fury added in his Twitter post. "If you're a man, and if you've got any sort of dignity and pride about you, you'll get this contract signed today. This is it.

"There is no more days, weeks, months, you've had the contract now for over two weeks and you still haven't signed it.

"Show the public that you're really the big coward that I know you are, and don't sign it. I don't care either way if you sign it or you don't, it makes no difference to me at all.

"You're a beaten man and I'm a world champion. I'm chucking you a massive bone, but I know I can punch a face in so I'm willing to give you an opportunity.

"There's nothing more to do, everyone is happy. Get your team onto mine, they will be available all day, like they've been available the last two weeks. Get this contract signed!

"Let the British fans have what they want. There is no running, you have to fight me. You cannot escape. The Fury is coming."

Deontay Wilder claims he has unfinished business with Tyson Fury and hopes to face the WBC heavyweight champion for a fourth time in the future.

Wilder is the only fighter to avoid defeat against Fury in the 34-year-old's professional career, doing so in a draw in December 2018.

However, the 'Bronze Bomber' then suffered two defeats to Fury – the most recent an 11th-round stoppage in October 2021 – and he still hopes for a chance to avenge those losses.

"I think that there's definitely a chance of a fourth fight again," Wilder told Sky Sports. "Boxing is a business. Many people call it a sport, but it's not a sport.

"The heavyweight division is very small. I'm still a big fish in the business, especially here in America. 

"As long as we're all in the same division and all still currently fighting, why not? It only can lead to that. With all that being said, it's definitely a possibility."

Wilder, who has not fought since that second defeat to Fury, will meet Robert Helenius in an eliminator next month and may yet face further bouts in his bid to return to title contention.

However, Oleksandr Usyk, who won and then retained the WBO, WBA and IBF belts with two victories over Anthony Joshua, has floated the idea of offering Wilder a championship fight – a proposition the 36-year-old would welcome.

"I heard about the Usyk situation, and he's going to be there. I hold Usyk to be a man of his word," Wilder said.

"If Usyk's saying he wants to give me an opportunity for the titles then that's what I'm holding his word to. I always tell people that I don't look past fighters, but I do look through them, there's nothing wrong with that, being confident in yourself and looking ahead once this chapter is closed.

"I've got to handle business at the end of the day. Without handling business then nothing else is moving forward. I'm taking it one fight at a time. I'm taking it all in, one day at a time. 

"Once I've accomplished and finished what I have to do with Robert, then I'll move on, and I'll be looking forward to the next challenge, whether it's Usyk or whether it's anybody else."

Meanwhile, Fury appeared set to face Joshua in December after reversing his decision to retire, although he has since claimed the fight was off after weeks of back-and-forth discussions.

 

Despite Joshua losing three of his last five fights, Wilder believes he can rectify issues with his fighting style, adding: "I just think Joshua was very cautious in what he did as far as exchanging punches [against Usyk]. I always said it: as I see it, he has a big stamina problem.

"I think if he can correct that, I think you will see a different Joshua. You won't see one that's so hesitant to throw punches and do things.

"I think he was just a little fearful of running out of gas too quick and too fast, and he held back a little bit."

Tyson Fury says December's proposed bout with Anthony Joshua is "officially over" due to the contract not being signed by Monday's self-imposed deadline.

WBC champion Fury opened the door for a 'Battle of Britain' with Joshua after it became clear a unification bout against Oleksandr Usyk would not occur this year.

However, following drawn-out talks between the fighters' camps, Fury declared last week that Joshua had until 17:00 BST on Monday to put pen to paper on the terms.

That deadline came and went without any official confirmation, and Fury once again took to social media shortly after to declare the heavyweight fight will not be taking place.

"It's official. D-Day has come and gone," he said in a video message on his Instagram account. "It's gone past 5 o'clock Monday, no contract has been signed. It's officially over. 

"Joshua is now out in the cold with the wolfpack. Forget about it. Idiot, coward, s***house, bodybuilder. Always knew you didn't have the minerals to fight the Gypsy King. 

"Regardless of what you say now, I don't really care. Good luck with your career and your life, end of."

Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn said last week an initial contract offer sent by Fury's camp was not acceptable, but the parties were "working positively" to reach an agreement.

That led to Fury making his ultimatum to Joshua to sign the contract by Monday or forget about a fight that has been years in the making.

In response, two-time world champion Joshua – who has lost three of his past five fights – said he fully intended to sign the deal, but it was currently with his legal team.

Should Fury be true to his word, the 34-year-old could look to arrange a title defence against Mahmoud Charr in the same December slot ahead of facing Usyk next year.

Tyson Fury claimed Anthony Joshua does not want to fight him as he unleashed a barrage of abuse on his fellow Brit.

Negotiations are ongoing over a mouthwatering world heavyweight title bout between WBC champion Fury and Joshua on December 3.

Eddie Hearn, Joshua's promoter, stated this week that an initial contract offer sent by Fury's camp was not acceptable, but the parties are "working positively" to try and reach an agreement.

Fury on Friday made it clear he does not believe two-time world champion Joshua has any intention of stepping into the ring with him.

He stated in a video posted on social media: "He's had the contract for I don’t know how long and ain’t signing it. You little sausage, you do not want a fight.

"However, I will be fighting on December 3, if this sausage does not sign this contract, which I don't think he is because I don't think he’s got the b******s to."

The unbeaten Fury also took aim at WBA, IBF and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk, who stated his intention to "outbox" the Englishman if they meet in a unification fight.

Fury added: "Usyk, you little s***house, I'm afraid of you? I'll put my fist right through the side of you, you little sausage.

"Joshua is a s***house, Usyk a s***house. You are all s***houses."

Oleksandr Usyk plans to have "three more fights at the very most" before retiring, including a heavyweight unification bout with Tyson Fury.

The 35-year-old holds the WBA Super, IBF, WBO, IBO and The Ring heavyweight belts after defeating Anthony Joshua for a second time in last month's rematch.

Usyk's split-decision victory over Joshua in Saudi Arabia was supposed to clear the way for a unification bout with Fury for all the belts in the sport’s blue-riband division.

However, with Usyk ruling out a return to the ring this year, Fury is now in advanced talks with Joshua over a 'Battle of Britain' showdown in December.

Usyk is hopeful of facing Fury down the line, with super-middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez also on his list of targets before ending his career on home soil in Kyiv.

"I can have three more fights at the very most," Usyk said in an interview posted on his YouTube page. 

"It is the most realistic to be in my top form. With Fury, Canelo and a farewell fight at Olympiyskiy.

"With Canelo he said that he wanted to fight me. It would be a freak fight just for the sake of earning money.

"I only need to beat Fury and then it is time to retire for me. The unification of all the belts is much more important than just a fight or another defence.

"I want to outbox Fury and I don't want to work that much just for another defence. There is much more that I can achieve."

Canelo is the undisputed super-middleweight champion after claiming victory in the final fight in his trilogy with Gennady Golovkin in Las Vegas last weekend.

The weight disparity between Usyk and Canelo makes any bout difficult to arrange, but the latter confirmed last month he is interested in facing the Ukrainian.

"It's difficult but I don't care," he said. "I like that type of challenge. I don't care. It's going to be difficult I know, but I love boxing. I love being in that type of situation."

Oleksandr Usyk plans to have "three more fights at the very most" before retiring, including a heavyweight unification bout with Tyson Fury.

The 35-year-old holds the WBA Super, IBF, WBO, IBO and The Ring heavyweight belts after defeating Anthony Joshua for a second time in last month's rematch.

Usyk's split-decision victory over Joshua in Saudi Arabia was supposed to clear the way for a unification bout with Fury for all the belts in the sport’s blue-riband division.

However, with Usyk ruling out a return to the ring this year, Fury is now in advanced talks with Joshua over a 'Battle of Britain' showdown in December.

Usyk is hopeful of facing Fury down the line, with super-middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez also on his list of targets before ending his career on home soil in Kyiv.

"I can have three more fights at the very most," Usyk said in an interview posted on his YouTube page. 

"It is the most realistic to be in my top form. With Fury, Canelo and a farewell fight at Olympiyskiy.

"With Canelo he said that he wanted to fight me. It would be a freak fight just for the sake of earning money.

"I only need to beat Fury and then it is time to retire for me. The unification of all the belts is much more important than just a fight or another defence.

"I want to outbox Fury and I don't want to work that much just for another defence. There is much more that I can achieve."

Canelo is the undisputed super-middleweight champion after claiming victory in the final fight in his trilogy with Gennady Golovkin in Las Vegas last weekend.

The weight disparity between Usyk and Canelo makes any bout difficult to arrange, but the latter confirmed last month he is interested in facing the Ukrainian.

"It's difficult but I don't care," he said. "I like that type of challenge. I don't care. It's going to be difficult I know, but I love boxing. I love being in that type of situation."

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez declared his mission for Saturday's trilogy fight with bitter rival Gennady Golovkin is to "finish him off" inside the distance.

After a split draw in their first fight five years ago, Canelo was declared the winner of their September 2018 rematch by a majority decision.

He edged a tight contest 115-113 on two of the judges' cards, with the other judge unable to split the fighters, while many observers thought Golovkin had been the superior fighter.

It means there is unfinished business heading into the long-awaited third fight, which, like the first two, will play out at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Golovkin, now 40 years of age, is a big underdog this time, while 32-year-old Canelo must handle the pressure of being the man expected to reign in the ring.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Canelo said: "I feel great, I'm ready for this weekend, so I can't wait. I'm very excited.

"I was very happy when I won the second fight because I knew I won the first fight, too, so I was really happy."

There is a real dislike between the fighters on a personal basis, with Mexican Canelo open about his disdain for Kazakh Golovkin.

"As a fighter, he's a great fighter, but as a person I don't like him," Canelo said.

The boxing website Boxrec rates Canelo as the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet, placing Golovkin ninth on that list.

Nothing would give Canelo more pleasure than being able to settle fight three against 'Triple G' without the need for judges this time.

By channelling his personal feelings towards Golovkin into his punching, Canelo is confident of getting the job done.

"It gives you that extra motivation of wanting to win, to go and finish him off basically," Canelo said. "That's what I've been training for and that's what I'm hoping to do on Saturday."

Golovkin carries a 42-1-1 pro career record into the fight, while Canelo is 57-2-2 after slipping up in a light-heavyweight clash with Dmitry Bivol in May, also at T-Mobile Arena.

He narrowly lost on points to his Russian opponent that day, after going up a weight, and is adamant the recent experience of defeat will not hinder him come bell time on Saturday.

"It gives me extra motivation to come back," Canelo said. "Sometimes in boxing you win or lose, but I'm going to come back stronger than ever.

"I did something that I didn't need to do, going up a division, I have no right to go up there, but that's what happens. I lost this, and I need to accept it like a man and come back stronger than ever, and that's what I'll be doing."

For the third, and presumably, the last time, Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin will share a ring on Saturday as they fight it out for super-middleweight glory in Las Vegas.

The trilogy tussle at the T-Mobile Arena has a lot to live up to after the previous battles between the pair, in 2017 and 2018.

Alvarez goes into this one as the firm favourite, with few giving the 40-year-old Golovkin much hope, but the tight nature of their previous fights could stir something in the Kazakh.

Ahead of the keenly anticipated showdown, Stats Perform has looked at the state of play in one of boxing's greatest modern-day rivalries.

The trilogy so far

If history is a guide, nobody should be surprised if fight three between these warriors goes the distance.

Both previous clashes, which were contested at middleweight, went all the way. The first ended in a split-decision draw, and the second went down as an Alvarez points win, albeit one that many called into question. Two of three judges gave him the win by a sliver, the other scoring it a draw.

So expect a sense of deja vu this weekend, not least because the fight is being held at the same venue that put on their first two clashes.

Alvarez was given a bizarrely lopsided 118-110 victory by one of the first fight's judges, while another scored it narrowly in Golovkin's favour, and the third as a draw, so perhaps this time the fighters will be eager to avoid any possible lottery on the scorecards.

A victory inside the distance for either man might be the most fitting way of bringing their rivalry to its conclusion.

What's happened since the rematch?

There was inevitably talk of a trilogy fight after Canelo got the better of Golovkin four years ago, but it took until May of this year for confirmation to come through.

Canelo has danced between the divisions, winning title fights at middleweight, super-middleweight and light heavyweight since he last encountered Golovkin in the ring.

Golovkin has fought just four times, and will hope that is sufficient preparation.

Unlike Canelo, he has a 100 per cent record from his fights in the last four years. Canelo was beaten on his last outing, losing to Dmitry Bivol on a unanimous, albeit tight verdict (115-113 with all three judges), when contesting the WBA light heavyweight belt.

Has anything changed in four years?

Ask yourself the same question. Of course, things change. We get older; past a certain point, perhaps we slow down a little; the pandemic put the brakes on most aspects of our lives, for a while at least.

It took a heavy toll on boxing, too, but Canelo and Golovkin have got the buzz back, and one thing that has not changed appears to be the enmity between them.

As Eddie Hearn, chairman of Matchroom Boxing, said on announcing the fight: "These are two men that bitterly dislike each other and want to end this incredible series with a blistering KO."

Canelo is still a young man, at 32, and he carries a 57-2-2 record into the fight, putting his WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO belts on the line.

Golovkin boasts a 42-1-1 career as he steps up to super-middleweight for the first time, but he is very much the veteran, the man that time is most likely to have caught up on since part two of this series.

According to Canelo, Golovkin has been taking on third-rate opponents to extend his career for this payday.

"A knockout, that's what I see," said a confident Canelo in June.

Some juicy shots are being thrown outside the ring, boiling up nicely for ring time.

Tyson Fury has set a one-week deadline for "suitors" to "come up with the money" to fight him.

Fury claimed before and after retaining his WBC world heavyweight title by stopping Dillian Whyte at Wembley in April that the all-British fight would be the last of his career.

Yet talked has turned to a unification bout between the 34-year-old and WBA, IBF and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk following the Ukrainian's second victory over Anthony Joshua on Saturday.

Usyk's promoter Alex Krassyuk said a fight with Fury is "in the making", while Fury's co-promoters Frank Warren and Bob Arum are also confident of doing a deal.

Fury on Wednesday urged the interested parties to put their money where their mouth is.

He posted on Instagram and Twitter: "Hi guys, for all these suitors out there that want to make the fight, I’m gonna give you all seven days, until the first of September, to come up with the money. If not, thank you vey much, it's been a blast, I'm retired."

Fury added in another video: "And also guys, forgot to say, all of them offers submitted, must be to my lawyer Robert Davies, in writing, with proof of funds. So let the games begin. Boom!"

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman this week said Fury has until Friday to make it clear whether he intends to fight again.

Fury stated in June that he would want £500million to come out of retirement.

Oleksandr Usyk's promoter Alex Krassyuk has said a much-anticipated fight with Tyson Fury for all four of the world heavyweight titles is "in the making".

Usyk was a split-decision victor in his rematch against Anthony Joshua on Saturday in Jeddah, retaining the WBA, IBF and WBO belts that he took off the same opponent at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last year.

It means that the Ukrainian would now just need the WBC belt to make him only the second fighter in the four-belt era behind Claressa Shields to become undisputed in two different weight classes, having already held all four titles in the cruiserweight division.

That WBC belt belongs to Fury, who has not been in the ring since April when he defended his strap by stopping Dillian Whyte with a brutal uppercut in the sixth round at Wembley.

Fury has since claimed to be retired, but it appears that he could be tempted back into the ring to face Usyk and crown an undisputed champion in the heavyweight division, after telling his Instagram followers he would "annihilate" both Usyk and Joshua following the conclusion of their rematch.

And Usyk's promoter Krassyuk is confident the fight between the two undefeated titleholders will happen, telling Sky Sports on Tuesday: "It's in the making."

Speaking on Monday, meanwhile, Fury's co-promoter Frank Warren also indicated he is confident of the Briton getting in the ring with Usyk.

"[Fury] and Usyk would be a really good fight," Warren told BBC Radio 5 Live. "It's a fight that I think will be made because both teams would like to see that happen.

"Usyk said after the fight that it's the only fight he's interested in, and it's certainly the same case with Tyson. It's just a matter of where it will generate the most income because it's a unique fight, a historic fight."

 

 

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman would welcome a unification bout between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk and believes such a fight could even take place before the end of the year.

Usyk produced a near-perfect display to record a split-decision victory over Anthony Joshua in Jeddah on Saturday, retaining the WBA, IBF and WBO belts he took from the Briton in London last year.

Having retained his undefeated professional record with a 20th victory in as many fights, Usyk declared his intention to fight Fury, saying: "I'm sure Tyson Fury isn't retired yet. I'm sure he wants to fight me. I want to fight him. If I'm not fighting Tyson Fury, I'm not fighting at all."

Fury has repeatedly flip-flopped on his boxing future, calling out Derek Chisora earlier this month before ruling out a return to the ring just three days later.

In the aftermath of Usyk's win over Joshua, however, Fury told his Instagram followers he would "annihilate" both fighters before declaring that the "Gypsy King is here to stay forever".

Sulaiman is excited by the prospect of Fury, who is unbeaten in 33 professional bouts, returning to face the Ukrainian.

"Tyson Fury is a unique man, his personality, his thinking is unique so I respect that, I respect him," Sulaiman told Sky Sports.

"He has been so loyal to the WBC, he has been so representative and proud of the WBC. I just hope that he makes the right decision, whichever it is.

"If he decides to hang up the gloves and retire, what a great way to do it, with money, with health, with his beautiful family.

"But if he has that hunger of going into the ring, which I believe is the case, it would be great to see him represent the WBC in a fight with Usyk or other championship fights he could have in the near future."

Sulaiman also revealed Fury has until Friday to confirm whether he intends to vacate the WBC heavyweight title after his latest retirement claims, and stated his belief fans may not have to wait long to see the two champions in action.

"Tyson Fury is the WBC champion of the world, he's not holding the 'other belt', he's holding the WBC championship, which is the championship of Muhammed Ali, George Foreman, [Joe] Frazier, [Mike] Tyson, Lennox Lewis etc," Sulaiman said.

"I'm very proud of Tyson Fury, he's a tremendous fighter and I am sure he wishes to continue boxing and a fight to unify all the championships in the division would be tremendous."

Sulaiman said Fury was free to make his own choice, adding: "But my personal opinion is that boxing is going through a great stage, a great moment, it will be great to see Fury against Usyk in the ultimate unification of the division.

"We are in August, there is still time to finalise and close up the year, or early next year."

Sulaiman said a tussle between Usyk and Fury at this stage in their careers would be "a momentous, huge event".

A heavyweight unification bout between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk "will be made", says promoter Frank Warren, who also did not discount the possibility of an all-British bout between Fury and Anthony Joshua.

Usyk retained his WBA, WBO and IBF titles, and also claimed the Ring Magazine belt with a split-decision victory over Joshua on Saturday to take his record to 20 professional bouts undefeated.

WBC champion Fury appeared to reaffirm his retiremenet ahead of the fight, but subsequently suggested promoters and fans "get [their] cheque book out" after the Ukrainian's win.

Warren, who handles Fury's bouts, has suggested the pair could square off next - and finally deliver the division's first undsputed champion since 1999.

"He and Usyk would be a really good fight," Warren told BBC Radio 5 Live. "It's a fight that I think will be made because both teams would like to see that happen."

Britain's Lennox Lewis beat Evander Holyfield to become the last undisputed heavyweight champion over two decades ago, but there has not been a bout with all four belts on the line since the WBO title was included in 2007.

"Usyk said after the fight that it's the only fight he's interested in, and it's certainly the same case with Tyson," Warren added.

"It's just a matter of where it will generate the most income because it's a unique fight, a historic fight.

"It's the first time for God knows how long that the four belts are on the line. Both fighters are undefeated. The whole world of boxing will be captivated by this fight."

Warren has also not ruled out seeing the long-awaited clash between Fury and Joshua, though the likelihood of such a fight following the latter's third defeat in his past five fights seems questionable.

Joshua first lost the WBA, WBO and IBF titles to Andy Ruiz Jr, though despite winning them back in the rematch, subsequently lost them to Usyk again last year.

The prospect of an all-British unification bout between Joshua and Fury was floated at multiple points during their reigns but ultimately never materialised, and Warren said Joshua will have to win some more fights before he can be considered a contender for Fury.

"If AJ manages to get a couple of wins under his belt - and I believe Tyson will beat Usyk - that may be a fight to be made," Warren added. "But AJ's got to re-establish himself before you can even think about fights like that."

"In comparison with war, boxing is child's play."

Those were the words uttered by Oleksandr Usyk in April after he left Ukraine's front line to prepare for the rematch against Anthony Joshua, which takes place in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Eleven months ago, Usyk placed himself on top of the boxing world with a stunning victory over Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium – where he dominated what was only his third fight at heavyweight level.

The aftermath saw talk of a unification bout against Tyson Fury, while questions were also raised as to whether Joshua would walk away, but both of those discussions were irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

In February, Russia stunned the world with the invasion of Ukraine and citizens took to the frontline to defend their nation, with Usyk travelling back to Kiev to fight.

Boxing, understandably, was far from the mind of Usyk, who told CNN: "I really don't know when I'm going to be stepping back in the ring. My country and my honour are more important to me than a championship belt."

Usyk will this weekend put his WBO, WBA Super, and IBF titles on the line against Joshua and shoulder the hopes of a nation who have had to cope with unthinkable trauma.

Sport, in situations like this, is largely irrelevant and few would criticise Usyk if he were to struggle in his rematch given the experiences he has endured – but he may find extra encouragement from Joshua's comments ahead of the bout.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Joshua described the months since he lost his belts to Usyk in north London as a "nightmare", words that may sting Usyk's camp given what has transpired away from the ring.

Many would suggest Usyk, having been the underdog in the initial bout and still with limited heavyweight experience, has nothing to lose – but he would be the first to argue that is not the case.

In terms of preparation, Usyk, like Joshua, has made significant adjustments and, having been at the lower-end of the heavyweight scale for the first clash has bulked up for the rematch, while the Brit has done the opposite.

Joshua had the weight, height and reach advantage for the first bout but did not put it into effect, with it clear after the opening five rounds that he was on the back foot and his best chance of winning was a knockout – but he never pushed for a stoppage.

Usyk, now displaying added bulk, may look to be more aggressive and to take the sort of chances that Joshua passed up back in September, though that is an approach he has not shown yet in the heavyweight division.

The champion's past two bouts have gone the distance and he earned unanimous decisions but, in the heavyweight game, it is a brave approach to look to stand firm, as just a single punch can change the picture entirely.

With additional weight behind him, Usyk should be able to hit Joshua harder this time around, but the full force of his strikes may well come from a different source – the support of his nation.

Promoter Alex Krassyuk told Sky Sports that Usyk travelled across Ukraine to visit high-ranking army officials, fans and injured combatants while supporting the resistance of the Russian invasion, where he received significant support and backing to return to the ring for the rematch.

"People want him to fight. People want him to win. They all want the Ukrainian flag to be risen and the Ukrainian anthem to be heard throughout the planet," he said.

That level of support can inspire Usyk when he faces a rejuvenated Joshua.

Anthony Joshua insists he will not be driven into retirement if he fails to defeat Oleksandr Usyk in his world heavyweight title rematch this Saturday.

Joshua, 32, suffered only the second defeat of his 26-fight professional career when he met Usyk for the first time last September, going down in a convincing unanimous decision to the talented Ukrainian.

While it was considered an upset, Usyk dominated the Brit in a masterclass to claim the IBF, WBA and WBO belts at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Usyk has built a 19-0 professional record, including a perfect 7-0 in cruiserweight world title fights before deciding to move up to heavyweight.

Joshua has shown his ability to respond to adversity before when he successfully reclaimed his belts from Andy Ruiz Jr after the Mexican had pulled off a stunning stoppage victory six months prior, with that rematch also taking place in Saudi Arabia.

The Englishman has dismissed suggestions he may have to quit if he fails to dethrone Usyk this weekend.

"It’s up to me at the end of the day, it’s not up to anyone else what I do with my career," he said. "I don’t have to do this. Why do I do it? It’s because it’s all I know.

"This is also my 12th consecutive world title fight. I’ve been in world title fights back-to-back 12 times. 

"It happens – if you’re fighting people at world level, you’re meeting people of world-level quality. I’m not fighting people who are below par."

Anthony Joshua admitted his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk is "must win" ahead of the fight on Saturday.

Joshua was surprisingly outclassed by Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September as the Ukrainian won the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles.

Usyk will defend his belts for the first time in a rematch this weekend with the Briton in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at the final press conference before their bout at the Shangri-La hotel in Jeddah, Joshua insisted he has to win, but felt confident after his camp with new trainers Robert Garcia and Angel Fernandez.

"That's it. Must win," Joshua said. "I like the pressure. It's been tough. Robert Garcia, Angel Fernandez, existing members of my previous team as well, definitely pushed me, challenged me. 

"Now we just get the job done. Instinct, stay focused, get the job done, God willing, victorious."

On his motivation for the fight, where he will face the unfamiliar role of challenger, Joshua said: "It's competition.

"I've got goals I want to achieve in the ring on the night. That's competition with myself. You've got to have a competitive spirit."

Usyk is aiming to repeat his impressive performance from the first fight, and seemed relaxed at the press conference, echoing what his opponent said about the importance of competition.

"We were born to compete for life, for belts, for everything. The one who does not compete does not live," Usyk said.

"All our lives are competition, for anything, for something, for somebody. That's why we are competing."

Either as a mind trick or simply to show how unfazed he was in general, as Joshua was leaving the stage following their face off, Usyk burst into song, joined by members of his team.

Page 1 of 5
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.