Anthony Joshua will be heading to Saudi Arabia on Saturday, August 20th 2022 for arguably the biggest fight of his boxing career, when he takes on Oleksandr Usyk in a rematch from their bout at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium back in September 2021. Image Credit: Supplied

Jeddah: Eddie Hearn is predicting a knockout when Anthony Joshua attempts to become a three-time world champion by defeating Oleksandr Usyk at the Rage on the Red Sea in Jeddah on Saturday.

The Matchroom Sports chairman believes both boxers go into their rematch more aggressive than their first, which saw Usyk rip the WBA ‘Super’, IBF, WBO and IBO belts from Joshua’s grip. Usyk’s victory came courtesy of a unanimous points decision, but Hearn doesn’t think their second meeting will go to the judges.

“I think they both will be aggressive,” said Hearn a week out from fight night at the Rage on the Red Sea at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Sports City Arena.

More aggression

“I think Usyk’s coming in heavy. I think he’s going to try and be aggressive. He’s going to try and stand and fight with AJ, and I don’t think the fight will go past six rounds. I think you’re going to see a knockout in this fight. I think you’re going to see more aggression from both guys, and I think you’re going to see a tremendous battle.”

Having suffered defeat at the hands of Usyk last time around, the importance of victory isn’t lost on Joshua’s camp.

“We’ve got to win,” Hearn added. “It’s the ultimate of the sport, the world Heavyweight championship, and we’ve got no interest in just taking part, it’s only about victory for AJ. He did it before out there, and this is a much tougher challenge, but he’s ready. And I believe he can become a three-time heavyweight world champion in Saudi next week.”

Although thousands of miles from home, Joshua finds himself in a familiar position.

He previously regained his gold from Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia in December 2019, and he now returns to the Kingdom in search of returning to the Heavyweight summit once more.

Hero figure

The fight with Ruiz Jr. three years ago made Joshua a hero figure in Saudi Arabia and he has spent the last month in the country, fine-tuning his preparations.

Joshua recently said the kindness he has been shown by Saudis “fills me with energy” and Hearn believes his fighter’s previous experience at the Clash of the Dunes provides both comfort and confidence.

“AJ’s been out there for four weeks, and it shows you how comfortable he is out there because normally a fighter would go for a week really,” Hearn explained. “And they don’t like to be away from the home comforts, but he feels very comfortable in Saudi, and he’s got very fond memories from the Ruiz fight. He’s in a great place and ready for fight week.”