Anthony Joshua quickly triggered the rematch clause in his fight contract against Oleksandr Usyk on the day his rival, Tyson Fury, retained his WBC heavyweight title.
On Saturday, Tyson Fury sent Deontay Wilder to the canvas for a third time with a vicious right hand to the head in the 11th round at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Anthony Joshua triggered his clause for a rematch against Oleksandr Usyk, which will take place in the spring of 2022, Eddie Hearn, the fight promoter said.
British heavyweight Joshua lost his IBF, WBA and WBO belts to Usyk via unanimous decision at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last month.
The enthralling slugfest between Fury and Wilder was more competitive than many expected but still ended as most predicted, with the Briton outboxing the American to remain the undefeated lineal champion.
After losing the WBC belt to Fury 20 months ago in a one-sided bout, Wilder was the aggressor early, using his jab to back up the larger Fury while seizing on every opportunity to throw his powerful right hand.
Fury weathered the early storm and knocked Wilder down in the third round with a short uppercut but the American responded in the fourth, knocking Fury down twice with shots to the head from close range.
But like he did when he was knocked down in the 12th round of their first meeting, Fury absorbed the punishment and picked himself up.
From there, Fury took control and bludgeoned Wilder, knocking him off his feet in the 10th round before ending the brutal affair with a clean right hand to the side of his head that sent Wilder face-first into the canvas.
Although down on the score cards, the fight never felt completely out of reach for Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) due to his right hand but the defensive-minded Fury mostly managed to avoid it.
With the win, Fury (31-0-1) has now taken two of the three meetings between the rivals after the first fight ended in a draw and Fury dominated the second.
“It was a great fight tonight, it was worthy of any trilogy in the history of the sport,” Fury said on Saturday.
“Deontay Wilder’s a top fighter, he gave me a real run for my money. I always said I’m the best in the world and he’s second best.”
Fury serenaded the crowd after the bout with a rendition of “Walking in Memphis.”
The battered Wilder reportedly went to hospital immediately after the fight.
“Joshua is training now, and today we officially triggered the rematch for the Oleksandr Usyk fight, which we will see early next spring,” Hearn told DAZN on Saturday.
“So back in the game and looking for him to become a three-time heavyweight champion.”
Joshua had appeared set for a unification bout with domestic rival Tyson Fury earlier this year, before an arbitration hearing ruled he had to fight Deontay Wilder again.