EXCLUSIVE: Eddie Hearn confirms Anthony Joshua will fight next in Britain as he targets a December clash against a top-15 opponent and plans to host a stadium competition against Dillian Whyte in 2023 – but Wilder and Ruiz Jr are ruled out
- Eddie Hearn has laid out his plan for Anthony Joshua after the Usyk defeat
- Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte have been named as possible opponents for AJ
- The next phase of Joshua’s career will begin with a fight in December
- Hearn ruled out a possible long-awaited showdown against Deontay Wilder
Eddie Hearn has both confirmed Anthony Joshua will return to the UK for his next fight and that he will face a top 15 opponent, while revealing plans to host a stadium fight against Dillian Whyte next year.
Joshua suffered a second straight loss to Oleksandr Usyk in early August after losing his WBA, WBO and IBF belts to the Ukrainian mastermind in September last year, with his record now standing at 24-3.
With the way now clear for Usyk and Tyson Fury to battle for the undisputed championship, Joshua is set to enter a new phase in his career, expected to start in December.
Eddie Hearn has laid out his plans for Anthony Joshua following his loss to Oleksandr Usyk
“We’re all shooting for a return in December,” Hearn told Sportsmail on Wednesday. “It’s not confirmed, but everyone is thinking about it.
“We’re not booking a venue but talks – just yesterday – were December for his return. I don’t want to name names but it’s a top 15 fight.
While Hearn was clear about who exactly Joshua will be facing, he was clear about who Joshua won’t be facing on his next outing.
The Matchroom boss ruled out a possible long-awaited showdown against Deontay Wilder, although he stressed a fight could take place later and insisted it would be bigger than an undisputed Usyk-Fury fight.
Hearn has ruled out the possibility of Joshua facing Deontay Wilder in his next contest
Hearn also revealed it won’t be former foes Whyte or Andy Ruiz Jr.
“It’s going to be someone more credible that AJ can come back against, express himself and build on what he’s learning at camp,” Hearn added. “He can then build back up to fight for a heavyweight title again.” People like Zhilei Zhang and Otto Wallin would certainly fall into that category.
Where Joshua will return to the ring, Hearn is clear. Only two of his last five matches have come in the UK, having fought in the United States for his first bout against Ruiz Jr. and in Saudi Arabia for the rematches against Ruiz and Usyk.
“I’d like to take him home,” he said. “Look, there is the Zhang fight. A lot of people think he beat Filip Hrgovic and that’s a big fight in China, but I just think the next fight should be in the UK.
“It will be at the O2 or Manchester Arena, we won’t be doing a stadium fight,” he added.
With duties off the agenda and an undisputed showdown no longer an option — at least for now — Hearn plans to take AJ on the road once more upon his return.
“Now Joshua is in control of his own future,” he said. “We can fight who we want, when we want, where we want and let’s go on an AJ world tour. I want London, I want Vegas, I want Beijing, I want the Middle East and I want Australia. We can do all that in one year.”
Dillian Whyte (left) and Tyson Fury have been suggested as possible opponents for Joshua
For Hearn, the dream of Joshua becoming a three-time heavyweight champion is still very much alive. As well as the ability to fight Wilder. As well as the opportunity to fight Fury.
However, the longtime promoter wants Joshua to be rebuilt with at least two fights beforehand, with the second possibly coming in the form of an enticing rematch against bitter rival Whyte.
“We’re talking to Dillian about his next fight in November, other people are making offers, but I see that fight in a stadium in the spring or summer of 2023,” Hearn said. “It’s a tremendous fight.”
Meanwhile, Hearn, who has spoken to Joshua numerous times since his loss to Usyk, insisted there is one main name on the heavyweight’s mind: “Dillian Whyte. He wants to fight Dillian Whyte 100 percent.
Hearn expects Joshua’s next fight to be in London after his last appearance in Saudi Arabia
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/boxing/article-11165587/Anthony-Joshua-fight-UK-Hearn-targets-Whyte-rematch-2023.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Confirmed: Anthony Joshua WILL fight in the UK next while Hearn seeks a rematch against Whyte in 2023