Saturday, August 20, 2022 11:20 am
By Ademola Adegbamigbe
Tonight is another time that Nigerians will forget their pains, strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and religious and political differences to unite behind the British-Nigerian boxer, Anthony Joshua, AJ for short. He will be fighting Oleksandr Usyk, the Ukrainian heavy-weight title older.
The boxing bout, code-named Rage on the Red Sea Fight, will hold at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, tonight, Saturday, 20 August. Tonight’s rematch is where AJ hopes to snatch back his heavyweight titles from his Ukrainian rival.
Last September in London, Usyk defeated Joshua to become the new World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Organization (WBO) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) heavyweight champion of the world after.
Joshua hopes to regain his titles today. He and Usyk on Monday addressed a press conference at Shangri La Shangri-La Hotel, with Saudi dignitaries present to, as Arab News put it, “cut the ribbon on what promises to be a seismic week for boxing in the Kingdom.”
Rage on the Red Sea, with an undercard that also features Saudi-Egyptian boxer Ziyad Al-Maalouf and the first ever female professional fight in the Kingdom, is expected to be one of the biggest boxing events in many years.
According to Joshua: “I don’t feel any pressure going into this unification fight. The preparations for the fight have been tough and challenging, but my confidence levels are very good and I believe we’re in a good place heading into Saturday night and (to make) history in the heavyweight championship,” he said.
“I have worked hard, sparred more and focused more on my fortitude,” he said. “Fans around the world should get ready for the extraordinary treat this weekend. For me, this is to become a three-time heavyweight champion of the world. It’s number one against number two; the unified titles, the Ring Magazine belt, it doesn’t get any bigger than this in our sport.”
On the other hand, Usyk said: “Certainly my friends and people close to me are suffering, and many of the people have died in this war but I don’t let any of that get to me,” he said. “I have been training for months and it has gone extremely well. I am ready to take whatever comes my way in the main event. For a fighter, I believe mindset is exceptionally important ahead of Rage on the Red Sea and I have the mindset needed to win this fight again.”