Eddie Hearn has said he still expects Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk’s rematch to take place on 23 July, though he added that a “two-week” delay cannot be ruled out.
Usyk outpointed Joshua in London last September to take the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles from the Briton. The pair are set to clash again this summer, with Saudi Arabia the likeliest location and 23 July having been mentioned by Hearn numerous times as the most probable date.
With the rematch yet to be officially announced, however, some fans have speculated that the bout may end up taking place at a later date.
When that matter was put to Hearn, who promotes Joshua, he told iFL TV on Monday: “We have agreed a deal with the site and the date – the working date of 23 July.
“We are pretty much ready to announce. If there is [a delay], you’re talking about two weeks, and it’s for no other reason than time and making sure we can promote the fight in the right way.
“The fight is happening, the fight is agreed in terms of where it will take place. Both sides have agreed the deal, both sides have agreed everything, it’s just just probably taken 10 days longer than we wanted it to.
“Without putting a date on [an announcement], all I can tell you is we’re finalising the final bits literally of paperwork. Everything is agreed. Stand by.”
Hearn explained that any delay longer than two weeks would thwart a plan for Joshua, 33, to compete twice this year.
“AJ’s fighting twice this year, so any delay could only be a couple of weeks, because we want to make sure that he’s good to go in December again,” Hearn said.
“23 July is still the working date, but if there was a delay, it wouldn’t be a major issue for anybody. It’s just time; it’s a huge deal, it has taken a long time, but these deals do.
“We’re very happy with our partners, we’re very happy with the deal, we’re very happy with the process. We’re looking forward to a huge event, and you’ll hear about it very soon.”
Neither Joshua nor the unbeaten Usyk, 35, has fought since their initial meeting last September.
Usyk recently left his native Ukraine to begin training for his rematch with Joshua, having spent time aiding the country’s defence against the ongoing Russian invasion.