Boxing: Joshua to defend heavyweight titles against Usyk in September

A 2020 photo shows Britain's Anthony Joshua (right) landing a punch on Bulgaria's Kubrat Pulev during their heavyweight world title match in London.
A 2020 photo shows Britain's Anthony Joshua (right) landing a punch on Bulgaria's Kubrat Pulev during their heavyweight world title match in London.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Britain's Anthony Joshua will defend his World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organisation heavyweight titles against Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Sept 25, his promoter announced on Tuesday (July 20).

Joshua was set to fight compatriot Tyson Fury in an unification bout in Saudi Arabia in August but that fight was scuppered when a United States arbitrator ruled World Boxing Council champion Fury must defend his title against Deontay Wilder.

That trilogy contest was scheduled to take place this weekend but has instead been delayed to Oct 9 in Las Vegas after Fury tested positive for the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Joshua will now fulfil his mandatory WBO title defence in London, in what will be the first boxing event staged at the new home of Tottenham Hotspur football club.

By taking on Ukraine's Usyk, a former undisputed world cruiserweight champion, Joshua will be facing a fellow London 2012 gold medallist.

Joshua was the Olympic champion in the super-heavyweight category at those Games, with Usyk topping the podium in the heavyweight division.

"The date is set and we are fully locked in," said Joshua in a statement issued by Matchroom Sport.

"I put it all on the line again and it's time to defend my crown. We are two Olympic gold medallists who have fought our way to the top and never avoided challenges."