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EXCLUSIVE: Eddie Hearn confirms Anthony Joshua will fight next time in the UK as he targets a December clash against a top 15 opponent, with plans to hold a stadium match against Dillian Whyte in 2023 – and it won’t be Wilder or be Ruiz
- Eddie Hearn has laid out his plan for Anthony Joshua after defeat to Usyk
- Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte have been named as possible opponents for AJ
- The next phase of Joshua’s career kicks off with a fight in December
- Hearn closes out a potentially highly anticipated showdown against Deontay Wilder. from
Eddie Hearn has confirmed that Anthony Joshua will return to the UK for his next fight and that it will be against a top 15 opponent, while revealing plans to stage a stadium fight against Dillian Whyte next year.
Joshua fell to a second straight defeat to Oleksandr Usyk earlier in August, having lost his WBA, WBO and IBF titles to the Ukrainian mastermind in September last year, with his record now standing at 24-3.
With the way clear for Usyk and Tyson Fury to compete for the undisputed championship, Joshua is entering a new phase of his career, which is likely to kick off in December.
Eddie Hearn has laid out his plans for Anthony Joshua after his defeat to Oleksandr Usyk
“We are all aiming for a return in December,” Hearn told Sportsmail on Wednesday. “It hasn’t been confirmed, but that’s what everyone’s thinking is.
“We are not booking a venue, but the talks – as recent as yesterday – was December before his return. I don’t want to start naming names, but it’s a top 15 fight.”
While he’s kept tight-lipped about exactly who Joshua will meet, Hearn was explicit about who Joshua won’t include in his next outing.
The Matchroom boss ruled out a potentially highly anticipated showdown with Deontay Wilder, though he emphasized that a fight could happen over time and insisted it would be bigger than an uncontested fight between Usyk and Fury.
Hearn has ruled out the possibility of Joshua facing Deontay Wilder in his next match
Hearn also revealed that there are no former enemies Whyte or Andy Ruiz Jr.
“It will be someone who is credible and who AJ can come back to, speak out and build on what he learns in the camp,” Hearn added. “Then he can rebuild himself to fight for a heavyweight title.” People like Zhilei Zhang and Otto Wallin would definitely fall into that category.
As for where Joshua will make his return to the ring, Hearn is clear. Only two of his last five appearances have been in the UK, having fought in the United States for his first fight against Ruiz Jr, and in Saudi Arabia for the rematches against both Ruiz and Usyk.
“I’d like to take him home,” he said. “Look, there’s the fight with Zhang. A lot of people think he beat Filip Hrgovic and that’s a big fight in China, but I just think the next fight has to be in the UK.”
“It will be at the O2 or Manchester Arena, we will not have a stadium fight,” he added.
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. Just like the ability to fight against Wilder. Just like the ability to fight Fury.
However, the long-serving promoter wants Joshua to rebuild him with at least two fights up front, with the second possibly in the form of a tempting rematch against bitter rival Whyte.
“We’re talking to Dillian about his next fight in November, other people are making offers, but I’m seeing that fight in a stadium in the spring or summer of 2023,” Hearn said. “It’s a huge fight.”
Meanwhile, Hearn, who has spoken to Joshua several times since his defeat to Usyk, insisted that there is one main name in the heavyweight’s head: ‘Dillian Whyte. He wants to fight one hundred percent against Dillian Whyte.’
Hearn expects Joshua’s next fight to be in London after his most recent outing in Saudi Arabia