Fight Week for Rage on the Red Sea got underway in Jeddah today, with Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk in front of the cameras for the first time just days out from their rematch at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena on Saturday.
Local, regional, and international press alike attended the first media interaction with the two main event fighters at the Shangri-La Hotel this evening, with Saudi dignitaries also in attendance to cut the ribbon on a seismic week for boxing.
Usyk defends his WBA ‘Super’, IBF, WBO, and IBO belts against the man he won them from, while Saturday’s winner will also take home the Ring Magazine title after Tyson Fury vacated the gold just last week.
With Heavyweight supremacy at stake, both fighters are relishing the prospect of making history in Saudi Arabia.
“I’m very happy to have the opportunity to be fighting here in Saudi Arabia against Anthony Joshua.” Usyk commented, “Training for this fight has gone extremely well and we are ready for whatever comes our way on fight night. For a fighter, mindset is particularly important, and ahead of ‘Rage on the Red Sea, I have the mindset needed to win this fight.”
“Of course, we are going to embrace everything that accompanies fight week because this is a huge event, but we will remain focused in the days ahead before entering the ring on Saturday.’”
Joshua added, “Preparations have been tough and challenging, but we’ve done different things to make the training camp as easy as possible and we’re in a good place heading into Saturday night, which is heavyweight history in the making.”
“Fans around the world simply have to tune in for this one. 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.”
The mouth-watering rematch is shaping up to be one of the biggest nights that boxing has ever seen and Matchroom Sport’s Eddie Hearn this week compared the Rage on the Red Sea to iconic predecessors the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thrilla in Manilla.
The significance of Saturday’s event hasn’t been lost on the media that have traveled from all over the world to cover Fight Night and its build-up.
Alex Krassyuk of K2 Promotions, also spoke to the media earlier today, adding: “Usyk vs Joshua 2 ranks among the biggest, most historic fights in history. The reigning and former unified world heavyweight champions are colliding for the second time.”
“We know AJ and his team have worked hard, making the adjustments they feel are necessary for victory, while we too have prepared as best as possible. For us, Oleksandr has to stick to the game plan, listen to those in his corner, and remain disciplined. Anything can happen in boxing and the outcome is not pre-determined, which is precisely why the whole world will be tuning for this fight on Saturday.”
Eddie Hearn, the Matchroom Sports Chairman, has made his predictions clear but earlier today discusses what each boxer needs to do to win.
“For AJ, he has to be more aggressive and let his hands go more.” Hearn analyzed, “For Usyk, he’s a genius, so he’s going to be very difficult to beat, but I believe AJ can do it by using his size to impose himself in this fight. He’s in a great frame of mind, a great place, and is ready to go.”
Fight Week continues with more media interactions and a public workout for all the fighters at the Saudi Airlines Club on Tuesday, 16 August before the entire card returns to the Shangri-La Hotel on Wednesday, 17 August for the full pre-fight press conference.
The public weigh-ins will then take place on Friday, 19 August at the King Abdullah Sports City before the fighters return to the stadium on Saturday, 20 August for Fight Night.
The Rage on the Red Sea card starts at 17:00 AST and Usyk vs. Joshua is slated to get underway at 00:54 AST, with the infamous ring walk slightly earlier. US Superstar Russ will add to the night with a special performance in between the undercard fights to energize the crowd ahead of the man event.
Fans can still secure their tickets to not miss what is slated to be a sporting epic, to purchase your ticket please visit halayalla.com. For VISA entry information, fans should go to visa.visitsaudi.com for information on how to apply.