Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua: A list of countries which could host the rematch

Saudi Arabia, England and Wales are all linked to staging the showdown between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua.

It is official. Oleksandr Usyk will make the first defence of his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles against Anthony Joshua. 

Fans are expecting it to be a summer showdown, with the end of June being the proposed date for the rematch, according to Usyk's promoter Alexander Krassyuk.

Usyk - who has been back in Ukraine to defend his country from an invasion by Russia - defeated Joshua in London last year to become the third fighter to win world titles at cruiserweight and heavyweight, following on from Evander Holyfield and David Haye.

Below, Planet Sport takes a look at the countries being linked with staging the rematch.

Saudi Arabia

The current front-runner for the fight is Saudi Arabia. Eddie Hearn has promoted an Anthony Joshua fight there before, and with the current climate, it offers the most commercial sense out of all the countries interested in holding the rematch.

The time zone would work for UK fans with the ring walk more than likely to take place at 9pm BST and more to the point, reports suggest Saudi Arabia has offered £90million to win the rights.

This choice could provoke backlash due to Saudi Arabia's human rights track record, but as we all know, in boxing money talks and if you've done it once - like Joshua has for his rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr - then you'll do it again if the price is right.

England

Wembley

Wembley Stadium is unlikely to be the host venue should the rematch to take place at the end of June. While the first two weekends are free, the next two are not, with Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran performing at the venue on June 18 and 25.

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is the next best thing in England and they have a clean slate in June with rock band Guns N' Roses and Lady Gaga performing there in July. Eddie Hearn has a good relationship with Daniel Levy - the chairman of Tottenham - and held the first fight between Joshua and Usyk at the ground in September, 2021.

The fight won Ring Magazine's Event of the Year for 2021 and with nearly 70,000 fans able to attend, this is a close second behind Saudi Arabia to stage Usyk-Joshua 2.

Wales

The Principality Stadium is a contender based on its schedule. Aside from Saturday, June 18, which sees the Stereophonics, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Tom Jones perform, there are no other events taking place at the stadium for June.

Joshua has fought there on two occasions - both ending with victory. His first was a win over Carlos Takam before unifying the heavyweight division with a points victory against New Zealand's Joseph Parker.

UAE

Dubai is becoming a popular place when it comes to staging music and sporting events. Probellum - a promotional boxing company under Richard Schaefer - were there in March for two nights which included a world title defence win for Sunny Edwards at the Duty Free Tennis Stadium.

Abu Dhabi is also a place that is more than ready to host Joshua's bid to be crowned a three-time unified heavyweight champion. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UFC held events there and branded it Fight Island (Yas Island).

Nine events took place at du Forum throughout July, September and October before moving to the Eithad Arena in January 2021. The first card on January 16, 2021, was capped at 2,000 of its 18,000 capacity due to social distancing rules.

During the four-week run, it included the rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, which saw the former get knocked out for the first time in his MMA career.

Nigeria

While Nigeria is not known for its boxing events, it is a country where Anthony Joshua wants to fight before the end of his career. Should he face Usyk there, it will be the first heavyweight world title fight on the continent outside of South Africa since the Rumble in the Jungle in 1976 (Foreman vs Ali).

About returning to Nigeria, Joshua said: "People had been telling me I should go back for ages. It was crazy because they don't have 24-hour electricity but they still know me and support me.

"I went to the ghettos of the ghettos where it's not all about egos and beef, it's about people who are hungry to survive.

"It was one of the best things I've done. Africa's rooting for me for sure, so I would definitely love to fight out there."

Before Usyk revealed his intent on facing Joshua this summer, an all-British showdown against former amateur rival Joe Joyce was in the pipeline and Nigeria was the country in contention to hold it.

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