Boxing supremo Eddie Hearn believes Anthony Joshua will step into the ring for his rematch against Oleksandr Usyk in June, after the Ukrainian was offered the chance to leave his country’s war efforts to train for the fight.
Usyk, 35, joined the Kyiv Territorial Defence to help Ukraine’s fight against Russian advances last month, which threw his fight against AJ into doubt.
But now Joshua’s promoter Hearn has revealed that he expects the fight to go ahead as initially planned.
As reported by talkSPORT, he said: ‘Is AJ vs Usyk happening now? I actually think it will. I actually think that fight will happen next and it will happen in June.’
Joshua lost the second fight of his career against Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September last year, with the judges ruling by unanimous decision.
The only other defeat of AJ’s career came against Andy Ruiz Jr and he avenged it in their rematch, something he will be desperate to do again against Usyk.
Boxing promoter Bob Arum shed some light earlier this week on the status of Ukrainian boxers during the war, revealing that positive talks with government could mean they are released to train for fights.
When asked for an update on Vasyl Lomachenko’s planned fight against George Kambosos Jr, Arum told Fanatics View: ‘The Ukrainian government, which is tremendous, are co-operating with us as far as Lomachenko and also Usyk.
‘They realise there’s tremendous publicity value in having them come out, train and participate in title fights. ‘Hopefully the war will then be over, but if it isn’t, [they will then] go back into defence mode.
‘So I don’t know where that stands with either guys, whether they’re going to accept the offer of the cultural minister of Ukraine to leave and to train for fights.’
Should Usyk not be available, then Joshua would be on the hunt for another opponent for his next fight, with Otto Wallin among the candidates.
Hearn has also previously named Deontay Wilder as his ‘top option’ for an interim bout, while Luis Ortiz said he would ‘love’ the opportunity to take on the Brit.