Eddie Hearn confirms there’s a rematch clause in Joshua v Usyk contract
At the moment, WBA Super, WBO and IBF World Heavyweight champion Anthony “AJ” Joshua (24-1, 22 KO’s) finds himself waiting on a fight announcement. It is a familiar situation for him. AJ was left twisting and twirling through limbo waiting on his super-fight with Tyson Fury for months. Then, like a lifelong arson’s dream come true, that grand global spectacle near instantly burst into flame and burnt to ash. While still feeling flimflammed out of his fight for undisputed, Joshua was forced to face his WBO mandatory challenger, Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KO’s).
This is the fight that he is currently waiting on to be officially finalized. Let Hearn tell it, the paper work is very near formal completion. Unlike the situation with Fury however, Usyk’s team is echoing the same thoughts. That is a good sign.
From the outside looking in, this has all the makings of a good fight. There is a bigger and supposedly stronger unified champion taking on the smaller but highly decorated technical fighter. Since being defeated by Andy Ruiz, many still have lingering question marks regarding Joshua. Likewise, there are a number of boxing fans who just do not believe that Usyk is big enough to compete with the elite in the division. This prizefight should solve all the riddles and has three belts on the line for extra drama.
LET’S DO IT AGAIN!
It is a good thing that this has all the ingredients for a memorable match-up, mainly because we might have to watch it again! In a recent interview conducted with Boxing Social, Eddie Hearn revealed that a rematch clause was included in the contract.
“There will be one…when you talk about a rematch clause, it’s also the biggest fight that fighter could have, you know what I mean? So sometimes people go, ‘oh that’s a bad thing!’ It’s actually sometimes a good thing. Because, I mean Andy Ruiz, who ended up getting quite a lot of money for his rematch. But it’s a massive opportunity. If Oleksandr Usyk wins, he then gets to make an absolute fortune to fight AJ again.”
The main reason that this is relevant to boxing fans is the aforementioned super-fight for undisputed with Fury. There was a common perception that if Fury defeated Wilder in their trilogy and AJ toppled Usyk, then they would be free to dance with one another. The revelation about the confirmed rematch clause can change all that. Rather than being free to test his might with the Gypsy King, AJ may find himself obligated to fight Usyk again. Or, perhaps we will watch Usyk attempt to retain his belts against Joshua in his first title defense. Similar to the Marvel Universe, there are endless outcomes to this current timeline of events.
PERHAPS A NEW WRINKLE
In the end though, like it so often does, this will ultimately be a matter of money.
[When asked should mandatory fights have rematch clauses] “I think it’s none of your business, I think if it makes commercial sense to everybody. You have to also understand, we’ve got a readymade offer for an undisputed fight, right? We could just wait until December. AJ is putting his entire stack on the line and many, many tens of millions on the line to fight Oleksandr Usyk. So in that respect, if there is an opportunity to do that fight again, which will be a huge fight by the way, then that’s what we’ll look to do.
So, it’s never a, ‘oh it’s terrible that you have to sign this rematch clause.’ If the rematch makes commercial sense for Oleksandr Usyk, which it really does, then it’s something we look at. But it also comes with, as in many occasions, a comeback fight. So if Oleksandr Usyk gets beat, we’ll give him another fight. So, again, it’s an individual basis to be honest with you. But a lot of times it makes great sense for a fighter.”
On the one hand, this does make sense; there is nothing strange about a multiple-belt-holding champion like Joshua wanting a rematch clause inserted. On the other hand, it sounds somewhat odd that Hearn is saying he will give Usyk a rematch even if he loses. That is not very typical or common.
Furthermore, Eddie Hearn was repeatedly heard to say that AJ was thinking about dropping the WBO title to avoid being forced into an undesired mandatory. Now he is openly willing to offer Usyk a second fight even in defeat. That part is definitely rather unorthodox. It currently looks like a healthy possibility this fight comes to fruition. If so, then it will be interesting to see what happens in the ring and definitely afterwards.
By: Bakari Simpson