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Oleksandr Usyk’s upcoming rematch with Anthony Joshua will be shown for free in the Ukrainian’s home country after being gifted the broadcast rights by the Saudi organisers. Joshua and Usyk are set to square off for a second time on August 20 at the King Abdullah Sport City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
In September ‘AJ’ dropped the WBA (super), IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles to Usyk on home soil at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London but will now have the chance to become a three-time heavyweight world champion.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn came to an agreement with the Saudi Arabia organisers that as part of the deal to host the show in Jeddah, the global TV rights would also be sold to them. As a result, an auction was held and DAZN – who has a multi-fight deal with Joshua – were out-bid by Sky Sports who won the rights at a reported cost of £23million.
UK viewers can now watch the show later this month for a fee of £26.95 on Sky Sports PPV. For Ukraine, however, the event will be shown for free on YouTube and state TV after a generous offer. Usyk had intended to buy the Ukrainian rights to the event in order to broadcast them for free in his homeland but was given them without charge by the Saudi organisers.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk said: “He intended to buy but received it [free] for Ukraine. He makes it free to watch via Megogo [streaming service], his YouTube channel and via state public TV ‘Suspilne’.”
Usyk is currently coming towards the end of his fight camp in Dubai. All of the noise coming out of his Middle Eastern base suggests that ‘The Cat’ is preparing for the fight by engaging in brutal gym wars. According to Aamir Ali, the manager of one of Usyk’s main sparring partners, Kazakh heavyweight Nursultan Amanzholov, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion has been sending many of his sparring partners home early.
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“He [Amanzholov] says there are days when Usyk goes to war with him. It’s not easy to hurt Nursultan but he’s been on the receiving end a few times,” Ali told Sky Sports. “But a lot of his heavyweights have been sent back home, if they can’t stay in camp. They can’t keep up.”
Ali continued: “He said as soon as [Usyk] came back from Jeddah, from the press conference, the day he arrived back, he phoned up Nursultan who was sitting in his hotel and said to him, ‘I want you sparring today.’ Literally got off the plane and started sparring straightaway and [Amanzholov] said he was in a foul mood. He was in a really angry mood, wanted to go to war.”
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