Anthony Joshua has triggered his Alexander Usik rematch clause – with a fight expected in March.
The British star had his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts ripped by the Ukrainian after losing by decision at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
AJ, 31, will have the opportunity to win them back immediately, however, promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed that the clause has now been activated.
Hearn told DAZN’s Maya Jama: “Today we officially started the rematch for the Oleksandr Usyk fight, which we will see early next spring.
“Back in the sport and we are looking for him to become a three-time world champion.
“A few niggles in the camp for AJ, Usyak had a bad cut, it’s officially started, we’ll sit down with the K2 hype and I think March is when you see that fight.
“It was a disappointing loss pound-for-pound.
“We don’t need to be back in the game with 10-rounders, he needs to rip those belts off Usyak.”
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The 34-year-old new champion is looking forward to a rematch in his country’s capital, Kiev.
Whereas Hearn wants Britain to compete despite offers from the Middle East.
matchroom promoter told BBC: “The same has mentioned Kiev in his home country of Ukraine as a possible destination and we will look into all options.
“When AJ heard about it, he didn’t mind and found it very exciting.
“I want to make it back to the UK and we have offers from the Middle East but we will see what is the best opportunity for both fighters.
“I don’t think it makes any difference to the venue as to how AJ has to fight.”