Via Barry Holbrook: Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua is open to an interim fight in the midst of his contracted rematch with Oleksandr Usyk if the match is delayed due to the war in Ukraine.
This week, IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) revealed that he joined the Ukrainian defense battalion to defend his contrarian against the Russian invasion.
Earlier today, Usyk told CNN: “My honor belongs to my country, my family. So there is no fear, absolutely no fear. Only one confusion – how can this be in the 21st century?”
If the Russo-Ukrainian war continues for months/years, Usyk will not be able to defend his three titles against Joshua for a long time.
Realizing that Usyk might not be available against Joshua at the moment, Hearn wants to set up a temporary fight to keep him busy.
Joshua’s interim fight options:
- Deontay Wilder
- Frank Sanchez
- Filip Hrgovic
- Andy Ruiz Jr
- Joe Joyce
- Daniel Dubois
- Tony Yoka
Hearn may not want to put Joshua into any risky fights while waiting for his rematch with Usyk, but he may need to.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin will likely keep his troops in Ukraine until the bitter end, seeking to conquer the country at all costs.
That won’t happen quickly, meaning Joshua & Hearn need to assume they may never get a rematch with Usyk.
“It is difficult to speak for Oleksandr Usyk. First, I think with everyone in Ukraine and those who show incredible bravery out there, especially some of the great warriors of the past and Oleksandr as well,” said Eddie Hearn. MMAHour when asked if it’s possible Usyk might not be able to fight Joshua any time soon due to the war in Ukraine.
“He can get the time he needs,” Hearn continued about Usyk. “We [Joshua] doesn’t want any other war but Oleksandr Usyk. Is there a delay for that fight and we have a temporary game, I guess it depends on Oleksandr Usyk’s situation and how much time he needs.
“It was a very emotional and personal time for the Ukrainian people. So we will respect them and give them all our time, but we will not seek to escape our obligations, that’s what I am saying.
“The only fight AJ wants right now is Oleksandr Usyk. If we have to fight in the middle, no problembut we will respect this time for Oleksandr Usyk and speed for his advisors.
“If we need to delay the contract period, we will gladly accept that, but we want that fight,” Hearn said of Joshua’s desire to rematch Usyk, even if he has to wait for it. “We don’t want that obligation to go away,” says Hearn.