As the boxing world eagerly awaits word on Anthony Joshua’s next opponent, his promoter Eddie Hearn has warned of the importance of this upcoming fight for the former unified champion.
Now out of the title picture for the first time almost eight years, Joshua is preparing for his comeback after consecutive losses to Oleksandr Usyk.
After the second Usyk defeat Hearn originally said Joshua would become more active and wanted ‘AJ’ back in the ring last December. Tyson Fury negotiations and a new trainer search has delayed that, with April 1st now the proposed date.
Speaking to iFL TV, Hearn explained the reason for the delay:
“This is the moment where we’ve got to get everything right for him to become a three-time heavyweight champion. It’s not even a delay for an opponent, but the reason that we’re here is he’s just selected his trainer, and we wanted to go through the opponents with the trainer.”
He went on to explain that the trainer will be making the final decisions on who the right opponent is for Joshua to develop under and gear up for potential future fights against Dillian Whyte, Deontay Wilder, and Tyson Fury.
With a new trainer set to be announced, a full training camp in America, and an opponent to be chosen with care, Hearn is under no illusions that Joshua must return to winning ways.
“I’m excited; I’m really excited. This is the most excited I’ve been in an Anthony Joshua journey so far because I think it’s exciting. You go into that fight in April, and you know that defeat, it’s all over really. It would be a third back-to-back defeat.
Yet, a great performance and a showreel knockout, gets everybody saying, ‘We’re back, baby.’ That’s what I can’t wait for because I love it when our back’s are against the wall. You have to understand that.”
Hearn wants Joshua to fight in April, July, and December this year, with a likely rematch against Dillian Whyte planned for the summer and a possible showdown with Deontay Wilder at the end of the year.
Joshua’s next opponent is expected to be announced in the coming days, with the April 1st the date and the O2 in London the venue.