Usyk vs Joshua 2: Ultimate staredown harbors palpable tension

Usyk vs Joshua 2: Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua shared an almighty staredown as the pair opened proceedings to hype their second fight this fall.

Usyk and Joshua reacquainted this week ahead of their highly-anticipated rematch on August 20 in Saudi Arabia.

Billed as ‘Rage on the Red Sea,’ Usyk vs. Joshua 2 is set to take place in Jeddah with Usyk’s IBF, WBA, and WBO on the line.

It’s a career-defining heavyweight clash for both men, and the hype for the much-anticipated rematch is already building.

The boxers went eyeball-to-eyeball for over a minute with a laser focus that only heightened the heat from the first meeting last year.

Joshua refused to look away, with Usyk giving the Londoner side-eye until eventually, they faced the mass of cameras.

Tensions were evident on the side of AJ, who has a lot to prove after Usyk dominated the initial bout to take away his title belts.

Usyk is a big favorite to repeat the fight in a money-spinning 50-50 split battle that will air on DAZN worldwide.

Speaking at the press conference, and as usual, a man of few words, “Mr. I am Very Feel,” aired his thoughts after a year of turmoil for his country.

Leaving Ukraine after fighting in the war against Russia, Usyk sported a t-shirt displaying his homeland’s colors and a message of peace.

Getting down to the business of fighting, Usyk refused to make any predictions.

Usyk vs Joshua 2

“I am very happy to be here in Saudi Arabia. It is very pleasant for my team and me,” said the unified ruler.

“We are doing what we have to do to achieve our goals. I have never made any loud or bright speeches.

“To become World Champion, I worked hard in my training camp and gym. That’s what I will do until the day of the fight, and my boxing will make me happy.”

Olekasandr Usyk colors of freedom
Mark Robinson

Joshua, who changed trainers after losing badly to Usyk, had a lot to say – as did promote Eddie Hearn.

“I just want to say god is good, all the time, even through tough times. I want to thank everyone for coming out today,” said Joshua.

On attempting to overturn the second loss of his career, he added: “You know, definitely the hunger is still there. As I always said from the get-go, stay hungry.

“Just keep the motivation high. Blips happen. Things happen in life, but there’s resilience, mental toughness, and consistency. This will always prevail.”

Concluding on his plans to get all four belts, AJ stated: “We’re still on the road, we’re still on the road to Undisputed for sure.

“It’s just a little blip in the road, but I’m focused on the target which is sitting over there (points to Usyk).

Hearn

Hearn led the thanks to everyone who was able to contribute to pulling off a $100 million deal for the Middle East showdown.

“It feels fantastic to be back. A welcome, of course, to everyone here, we want to thank Skill Challenge Entertainment as well for their hard work and everybody for their patience,” outlined the Matchroom figurehead.

“It’s been a long time making this fight. When a fight the size of this is coming and putting on a production like you guys want to put on, these things take time, so thank you to Egis and Alex and Oleksandr Usyk as well.

“Of course, for our team, Anthony Joshua, 258 Management, and Robert Garcia. This is all very nice, all very friendly, but we’re only here to win. Honesty that’s all that matters.

“The last time in September was very painful when the great Oleksandr Usyk dethroned Anthony Joshua.

“We’re here to be pleasant, but we’re here to see this man regain those wonderful belts up there on August 20.”

Usyk vs. Joshua II is live on DAZN on August 20 from Saudi Arabia.

WBN Editor Phil has over ten years of boxing news experience. Furthermore, follow WBN on Twitter @WorldBoxingNews.