Eddie Hearn, promoter for former two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, indicates that his fighter’s next opponent will be determined by his return date.
Joshua was last seen in action back in August, when he lost a twelve round decision to WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
It was a rematch of their 2021 encounter, which Joshua also lost by decision over twelve.
Initially, Joshua had planned to fight again at the end of year.
His return was pushed back to the first half of 2023.
There are several possible options for his next fight, including a rematch with Dillian Whyte, who returns on November 26 against Jermaine Franklin.
According to Hearn, if Joshua decides to return in the first few months of 2023, then he will likely take a stay-busy fight. If his return takes place in May or June, then a rematch with Whyte is more likely.
“I think it all depends on when AJ fights, if he waits until April or May, he may go straight into the Dillian Whyte fight. If he fights in February, he may have a warm-up fight first,” Hearn said to The DAZN Boxing Show.
“He’s coming to Abu Dhabi this week; we are sitting down with him to plan the next step and we’re on the verge of mapping that out.”
Another opponent on Hearn’s radar is former WBC world champion Deontay Wilder.
At one time that showdown was one of the biggest fights in the sport. While neither holds a title, their bout will still be considered a major event.
“I actually sent Shelly Finkel an email back in August to talk about a deal and he actually replied to me yesterday. I invited them out here to Abu Dhabi this week, they can’t come, but I see the Deontay Wilder fight probably being the second fight for Anthony Joshua in all honesty, but he’s up for fighting anyone,” Hearn said.
“If he waits, he may go straight into that fight, it all depends on when he returns, if he returns early in the year, he’ll fight someone else first and if not he’ll go straight into the Whyte or Wilder fight.”