World heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk and challenger Anthony Joshua went face-to-face for the final time before fight week for their rematch.
The pair have been cordial so far as they went through pre-fight promotion following the announcement of their second fight this week.
Usyk and Joshua face off
Usyk, the consummate professional, is laser focused. Joshua, for his part, looks as though he has the weight of redemption on his shoulders.
Not many in the sport believe AJ can pull off a shock revenge mission. This fact alone should give him all the motivation he needs.
The last Jeddah face off until fight week ????
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) June 23, 2022
The official countdown to one of the biggest Heavyweight rematches in the history of the sport has started with Usyk facing off with Joshua in the coastal city of Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday.
They began a two-city Usyk vs. Joshua 2 promotional tour across Jeddah and London. The two colossal fighters of the sport went toe to toe as the sun set above the stunning Red Sea.
Promoter Eddie Hearn took the opportunity to defend the fight against sport washing accusations from Amnesty International and others against the hosts.
“‘Rage on the Red Sea,’ August 20th in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It has been a long time coming,” said Hearn.
“Back in 2019, we saw Anthony Joshua rematch Andy Ruiz and regain his World Heavyweight Championships in Riyadh. It was a tremendous event.
“Of course, the boxing world and the sporting world slowed right down through the COVID pandemic.
“Now we’re back, long overdue. We’re delighted to bring what is the biggest fight in the Heavyweight division, one of the biggest fights in world boxing, to the Kingdom in August.
“We’re delighted to be joined by not just Team ‘AJ,’ with Anthony Joshua, former two-time Heavyweight Champion, and his great trainer Robert Garcia.
“Also, the Champion Oleksandr Usyk, the unified Heavyweight Champion, the former Undisputed Cruiserweight World Champion. And his manager Egis Klimas and his promoter Alex Krassyuk.”
He added on the choice of Saudi Arabia, “We’ve heard a lot about the growth of boxing here in Saudi Arabia. It’s something that is very important to us as fans of the sport.
“It’s amazing to bring huge high-profile fights to The Kingdom. But even better to witness the growth of boxing here in The Kingdom, to see these great fighters inspire the next generation.
“We all know Oleksandr and Anthony are two great examples of what boxing can do for a young person. How it can change and how it can shape their lives.
“We really believe that boxing is a tremendous way to shape and mold the lives of individuals and to teach them all the things that are in important in life.
“It teaches discipline, respect, and fitness. Also, mental well-being, being part of a team, being part of a community. We feel very strongly that boxing can do that.”