Oleksandr Usyk loves London but dreams of revenge in Kiev



London continues to be the lucky city of Oleksandr Usyk, but the new WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion would like to return to his native Ukraine for a rematch against Anthony Joshua.

Despite giving Joshua three inches of height, four inches of reach and nearly 20 pounds of weight, the ex-undisputed world cruiserweight’s superior ringcraft was there for all to see in his victory. by unanimous decision.

The 34-year-old’s breathtaking triumph in his third heavyweight fight in an electric atmosphere created by more than 66,000 fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium continued his love affair with the English capital.

Usyk won Olympic heavyweight gold nine years ago, the day before Joshua steps onto the podium in the above division and admits that even his latest success is paltry compared to what he achieved in 2012.

“London is a really lucky city for me, but not a single professional victory can exceed an Olympic gold medal,” he said, via a translator.

Usyk extended his perfect professional record to 19 wins in as many contests. The last 10 took place outside his country, while several world title fights took place in his opponent’s backyard.

He may proudly wear the nickname “Warrior of the Road,” but, with Joshua expected to immediately summon a return fight after being dethroned, Usyk has been asked to state his location preference.

“I would love to have the rematch at the Olympiyskiy stadium in Kiev,” he replied.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn appeared to pour cold water on the suggestion and hinted that a second fight would likely be back in the UK.

Eddie Hearn sees no revenge in Kiev (Nick Potts / PA)

“We will work together to maximize (income) Ukraine is very unlikely,” Hearn said. “I think it will be international or UK, I think it would be UK.”

Usyk produced one of the finest demos of his professional career in North London and was awarded with scorecards of 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 – although Hearn later said that Joshua was up after eight rounds, only to lose the last four with each of the judges as his swollen right eye began to impact his vision.

Usyk said: “At this point it’s the biggest fight of my career – but it wasn’t the hardest.”

He was quickly asked who his toughest opponent was and, perhaps in indirect reference to WBC title holder Tyson Fury, Usyk replied, “I can’t say but, most likely, it’s in front of us.”

It was the failure of a fight with Fury that led the WBO to order Joshua to face obligatory challenger Usyk.

Hearn said: “I think you have to credit (Joshua) because he could have easily swerved in this fight and maybe we should have, but that’s not really what he’s got. acts. You have people who will take easy options and you will have people who will choose to fight everyone and that last one is AJ.

It was the second loss in Joshua’s professional career, but Hearn believes it’s not as damaging as the first he suffered in June 2019, a loss he avenged in a game. immediate revenge six months later.

“Oddly, it’s a lot easier to take because you know how good Usyk is and so you know there’s a chance you could get beaten,” Hearn added.

“Ruiz’s (first) fight, we were probably a little naive back then, almost walking through the air, that AJ would just beat up everyone and it was love at first sight that you saw that” he couldn’t get over it for weeks.

“Here you just say ‘this is sport’ – he got beaten by the best, what are you going to do? Dust off, improve yourself and try to beat him in the rematch. That’s all you can do.


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