Anthony Joshua will defend his world heavyweight titles against Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25th, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Joshua fights for the first time since a ninth round stoppage victory over Kubrat Pulev in December when he puts his WBA ‘Super’, WBO, IBF and IBO belts on the line against WBO mandatory challenger and former undisputed cruiserweight king, Usyk.
The Brit was seemingly on course for an undisputed title showdown against WBC and Ring Magazine champion, Tyson Fury however a day after the ‘Gypsy King’ announced the fight for August 14th in Saudi Arabia on Instagram, he was ordered to face Deontay Wilder for a third time, as a result of an arbitrator’s ruling on May 17th.
The WBO had cooled their demands on Usyk’s mandatory status with talks progressing between Joshua and Fury, with the 34-year-old ordered to face Joe Joyce for the interim title.
Yet, when the proposed undisputed title showdown collapsed the governing body reaffirmed Usyk’s position, calling for Joshua to face the Olympic Gold medalist on May 22nd.
The Ukrainian has registered two victories since moving up to Heavyweight, securing a seventh round retirement win over Chazz Witherspoon and most recently a unanimous decision over Derek Chisora in October.
“The date is set and we are fully locked in,” said Joshua.
“September 25, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, I put it all on the line again and it’s time to defend my crown. We are two Olympic Gold medallists who have fought our way to the top and never avoided challenges.
“The stadium is exceptional, the atmosphere will be electric, I’m honoured to be the first person to fight in such an awe inspiring venue. The stage is set and I am ready to handle business.”
“The path will be mastered by the walking one,” Usyk said.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed the stadium will be at full capacity, with over 60,000 fans in attendance in what will be the biggest post-pandemic crowd seen in the UK.
Eddie Hearn, Chairman, Matchroom Sport, said: “Olympic Gold vs. Olympic Gold, Unified World Heavyweight Champion vs. Undisputed Cruiserweight World Champion this one has it all and I can’t wait to stage this huge event in front of over 60,000 at the stunning Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25.”
Alexander Krassyuk, General Director, K2 Promotions, said: “This is a huge fight between two gentlemen of the sport. Wow! The two London 2012 Olympic Champions are set to collide for the Heavyweight crowns. Let the best man win, and we will see you again for the rematch!”
The stadium, home to Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is the third largest football stadium in England and will stage its maiden fight on September 25th, after plans to hold Joshua’s clash with Kubrat Pulev fell through due to the pandemic.
The ground stands on the same site as the previous stadium, White Hart Lane, which staged the 1987 heavyweight fight between Frank Bruno and Joe Bugner.
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Daniel Levy, Chairman, Tottenham Hotspur, said: “This is a huge occasion for Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Anthony Joshua is an icon in the world of sport and to have him fight here in London N17, against a top opponent in Oleksandr Usyk, will be amazing for the area of Tottenham.
“This event will once again showcase the stadium’s ability to take the hosting of world-class sporting occasions to the next level – we cannot wait for September 25.”
“We’ve followed Anthony Joshua’s enthralling journey since the very start – and now Ukraine’s pound-for-pound star Oleksandr Usyk stands in the way of ‘AJ’s’ ultimate ambition of becoming an Undisputed World Champion,” Adam Smith, Head of Boxing Development, Sky Sports said.
“The unbeaten Usyk is returning to the city where he struck gold at the same Olympic Games as ‘AJ’ and we know him well from that dramatic win over Tony Bellew and a breathless battle with Derek Chisora.
“I couldn’t be more delighted after working for two years to secure a spectacular Heavyweight showdown at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, a stunning backdrop for fight fans as Joshua vs. Usyk lights up London.”