Usyk vs Joshua 2

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2

The WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO world heavyweight championship bout between title defender Oleksandr Usyk and former world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, billed as “Rage on the Red Sea,” was held on 20 August 2022 at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. At stake in this fight was not only the championship belts of the above boxing associations, but also the heavyweight title awarded by The Ring magazine, following Tyson Fury’s decision to vacate this sought-after title.

Usyk won the fight by split decision, with scorecards of 116-112 and 115-113 in his favor and 115-113 in favor of Joshua.

The fight was a direct rematch. On 25 September 2021, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England, heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, at the time holder of the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO titles, lost his title to WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk by unanimous decision after twelve rounds (117-112, 116-112 und 115-113).

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, a possible rematch between Usyk and Joshua was in doubt. Commenting on his professional boxing career, Usyk said, “I really don’t know when I’m going to be stepping back in the ring. My country and my honor are more important to me than a championship belt.”

On 19 June 2022, it was officially announced that Usyk would fight a rematch against Joshua on 20 August in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The country put up a purse of around USD 77 million for the fighters to split through its sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund. The fight would mark the first defense of Usyk’s world heavyweight titles, while it would be Joshua’s twelfth consecutive world heavyweight title fight as he attempted to become a three-time world heavyweight champion.

Usyk vs Joshua 2
Richard T Slone
29.5″ x 24″
Acrylic on canvas

This artwork appears on the cover of Boxing News Magazine for 18 August 2022.