Anthony Joshua’s rematch against Oleksandr Usyk has been confirmed to take place on August 20 in Saudi Arabia.
After months of speculation and continuous delays, AJ’s shot at redemption has finally been announced.
The pair will meet again with AJ now with a new trainer in his corner and likely with a different game
Joshua, 32, was dethroned of the unified WBA, IBF and WBO belts by Usyk last September at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Speaking after the rematch was confirmed Joshua said: “What a roller coaster journey, fighting for the Heavyweight Championship of the World for the 12th consecutive time.
“I won the belt, unified the division, won another belt, lost the belts, became two-time unified Heavyweight Champion and now have my date with history set to become three-time unified Heavyweight Champion of the World. What an opportunity.
“Fighting championship level back to back has had its pros and cons, but I decide every day to get stronger, to learn from my experiences and grow.
“A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter and I am the happiest and most motivated I have been.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn tweeted: “The time has come! Mark your calendars for the unified Heavyweight Championship of the World!”
Usyk 35, was almost talked into an undisputed title decider with Tyson Fury – who made a shock U-turn on his retirement on Tuesday night, before leaving fans confused by revealing he’s still retired on Wednesday morning.
But AJ failed to agree a step-aside deal which would have seen him paid to take an interim bout while awaiting to face the winner.
Instead, Fury knocked out Dillian Whyte, 34, as talks between Usyk and Joshua – who has sensationally quit Sky Sports to team up with DAZN in a £100million deal – continued.
It came amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which almost threatened to scupper Usyk’s rematch with AJ after he bravely took up arms in his homeland.
The pound-for-pound star left Ukraine in March to begin training for his highly anticipated sequel with Joshua.
Promoter Eddie Hearn was in talks with several regions, all willing to put mega-money on the table to host the rematch.
But just like when Joshua avenged defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr, 32, in 2019, he will travel over 4,000 miles to the Saudi desert for his revenge mission.
AJ, meanwhile, will meet Usyk with a new trainer in his corner after parting with long-time coach Rob McCracken.
And US mastermind Robert Garcia, who has coached more than a dozen world champions, said he got his tactics all wrong in the first fight,
He said: “When you have somebody that’s a lot smaller than you and you have the weight, height, reach and power advantages then take advantage of that.
“It seemed like they had a different game plan.
“I wouldn’t even want to say it was a ‘game plan’, maybe it was just the wrong instructions.
“Anthony is the type of fighter who listens to his corner so he did what he was told and it was totally wrong.”