Anthony Joshua

‘Let’s be honest, it could be a BIGGER fight than Oleksandr Usyk’: Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua has named Deontay Wilder as his ‘top option’ for interim bout ahead of his heavyweight rematch with the Ukrainian southpaw

  • Usyk defeated Anthony Joshua on a unanimous points decision in September
  • Joshua has triggered his rematch clause to fight the southpaw again this year
  • However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has stalled negations over the next fight
  • Therefore, the 32-year-old is now looking at opponents for the interim period 
  • Joshua has named Deontay Wilder a his ‘top target’ according to Eddie Hearn

Eddie Hearn has said that Anthony Joshua would like to fight Deontay Wilder while he waits for his re-match with Oleksandr Usyk to be arranged. 

AJ is due to face Usyk for a second time this year after losing his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts on a unanimous points decision in front of a sell-out crowd at London‘s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September last year. 

However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has delayed negotiations between AJ and Usyk. Therefore, the British boxer is said to be looking at alternative bouts for the interim period. 

Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua is eager to get back into the ring as soon as possible
He has named Deontay Wilder (right) as his 'top option' amid the delays with Oleksandr Usyk

When asked what is going on with the AJ’s re-match against Usyk, Hearn said that the Ukrainian boxer had ‘more things on his mind than fighting Anthony Joshua’.

He told iFL TV: ‘Look it’s hard to be chasing these guys right now. Look at what is going in their lives right now. They are sending their family to safe places and everyone is looking out for each other. 

‘I don’t think Usyk right now is thinking about fighting. He’s definitely not thinking about fighting Anthony Joshua. What I said was, we are taking the fight with Usyk. We don’t want any other fight. 

AJ is due to fight Usyk for a second time next year after losing his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts

‘But, if he needs some more time – until September, October – we will fight in the interim. AJ wants to fight in the end of May, first week of June. 

‘If you’re ready brilliant. If you’re not, we will give you more time. They are very honest people and they will be very honest with us. It sounds like he will need more time.’

The promoter went on to say that AJ had named Wilder as one of the boxers he would like to face if his re-match with Usyk is delayed. 

Hearn said: ‘AJ talked about Deontay Wilder. If you said to AJ right now, who do you want to go for, I think he would say Wilder. 

‘It’s a big fight. It’s not an interim fight is it. Let’s be honest, it could be a bigger fight than Usyk. He has no fear of fighting anyone.

‘He is all about legacy, resume, challenges. He’s calling out the top five, the top 10. He has given me a wish list he would like me to enquire about.’

As a result, he has enlisted with the Kyiv Territorial Defence after Russia's invasion of Ukraine

The The Bronze Bomber has lost his last two fights, both against Tyson Fury in a trilogy series, with the most recent of these bouts coming in October.

He questioned whether he would return to the ring after his disappointing performances against the Gypsy King.  

But, after turning to a psychedelic drink in a bizarre approach to deciding his future, Wilder has said he will fight again. Therefore, a fight with Joshua could be on the cards. 

Meanwhile, Hearn continued to speak about AJ’s future – explaining how it annoys him when people say the British boxer ducks fights and avoids facing certain people. 

Hearn said: ‘He [Joshua] is being quite vocal at the moment. He is on it. I sat down with him last night and he want’s to fight. 

Joshua is now looking for an interim fight as he wants to get back in the ring by the end of May

‘He is raring to go and he feels great.  I believe, he believes and the team believes he is going to come back and prove he is the best heavyweight in the world. 

‘There are obviously conversations going on with Usyk but the one thing that baffles me when people talk about Anthony Joshua is that this young man has boxed everyone and he will box anyone. 

‘He fought Usyk when people said you should just swerve that because he is a really tough mandatory. No, he boxed him and now he wants to go straight back into a re-match. 

‘He turned down £15million to even go in with him. So, AJ will fight absolutely anyone.  He’s come to me and said find out what is going on with Usyk. 

Hearn thinks he should use an interim fight to practice under his new trainer Angel Fernandez

‘But, if I have to have an interim fight here are some of the names I like. He’s told me to make them so offers so we can progress.

One thing is for sure, he will be fighting a top 10 heavyweight. World ranking, top 10. By the way…I don’t think he should fight the names he is mentioning. I’ll be honest with you.

If this end of May early June, and three months later you’re fighting Usyk. I would rather he went in with one of those guys you can work with a new trainer on but he’s not that kind of guy and doesn’t have that mentality.

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