Anthony Joshua will have his shot at redemption against Oleksandr Uysk.
ESPN’s Mike Coppinger reported Saturday that Joshua exercised his contractual right to a rematch with Usyk, setting up an opportunity to reclaim the unified heavyweight championship.
Coppinger reported that Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, is hopeful the fight will be in early spring 2022.
“Back in the game and looking for him to become a three-time world champion,” Hearn said, according to Coppinger.
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This is the second time Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) has had to use a rematch clause. Following his first career loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019, he requested a rematch and fought against Ruiz in December 2019. That time, he won by unanimous decision to reclaim the unified heavyweight title.
Because Joshua exercised the rematch clause, neither he nor Usyk can fight anyone else until after the rematch.
Usyk defeated Joshua by unanimous decision at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London last September to take the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts.
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Following the fight, Usyk said he expected a rematch with Joshua and that after that, he would seek to take on the winner of Saturday’s Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder WBC title fight, according to Reuters and ESPN. But with Usyk-Joshua 2 now moving ahead, the winner of Fury-Wilder must make a mandatory title defense against interim WBC champion Dillian Whyte if Whyte beats Otto Wallin on Oct. 30.
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The September fight vs. Usyk halted plans for Joshua to face Fury for the undisputed title. Last May, it seemed as if Joshua would be fighting Fury on Aug. 14, but shortly after Fury announced plans for that fight, an arbitrator ruled that Fury must face Wilder, who had exercised his option for a third fight against Fury.
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Fury accepted the rematch, putting on hold his plans to face Joshua. After Fury-Joshua was delayed, Joshua was forced to face the WBO’s top contender, which was Usyk, who had moved up after becoming the undisputed cruiserweight champion.