Eddie Hearn has backed Anthony Joshua to become the next undisputed heavyweight champion of the world ahead of his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk. Joshua, 32, faces what could be a career defining fight against the Ukrainian, having been outclassed last September when he relinquished his WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO belts at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The defeat scuppered any hopes British boxing fans had of a mouth-watering unification showdown between Joshua and Tyson Fury, who instead had to negotiate a bout with mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte. ‘The Gypsy King’ turned in a masterful display to see off the challenger, ending the contest with a savage uppercut in the sixth round.
The assumption was that Fury would then wait for the winner of Joshua v Usyk – a clash delayed after the champion took arms in Ukraine amid the Russian invasion – to crown the undisputed king of the division. That notion has been thrown into doubt though after Fury, the reigning WBC and The Ring heavyweight champion, insisted he was now walking away from the sport, a claim he reiterated in an interview with Piers Morgan on Wednesday.
The Joshua camp have dismissed the pledge as gamesmanship, with Lennox Lewis also voicing his opinion that Fury would not be able to turn down a bout with ‘AJ’. And speaking prior to Fury’s latest win, Matchroom boss Hearn backed his man to not only come through his upcoming rematch, but also to overcome the Morecambe based fighter afterwards.
Usyk outclassed Joshua in London last September (Image: GETTY)
“I mean, it’s gonna be obviously Tyson Fury against Dillian Whyte,” he told the LADbible TV YouTube channel. “And AJ against Usyk. So, the winners of those, I’ll back AJ all day long. I believe he’s gonna beat Usyk in the rematch. And then I believe the momentum of that is gonna see him beat the winner of Fury against Whyte.”
Hearn, who was speaking alongside father Barry, also expressed his regret that Joshua has not fought Deontay Wilder. The American has not been in action since his defeat to Fury last October, which concluded a dramatic trilogy between the pair.
When asked by his father “Where would that have been, Eddie?” he candidly replied with “Wherever the most money was.” After Barry took a dig at his him over the answer, the promoter sought to justify himself.
“Oh, hello. Imagine me going home going, ‘Dad, we’ve got an issue here. There’s London. Or there’s five times more money for the fighters, to do it in Saudi Arabia’.”
The venue for the Joshua v Usyk rematch, provisionally scheduled for July 23, has yet to be finalised.