…But Hearn Says Whyte-Franklin Winner Is “Frontrunner” For AJ Return
Former two-time heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua was in Abu Dhabi for yesterday’s light-heavyweight fight between Dmitry Bivol and Zurdo Ramirez and, like the rest of us, AJ was mightily impressed by Bivol’s simply flawless display. But Joshua was of course asked about his own ring career, by IFL TV amongst other outlets, and the 33 year old spoke positively about the chances of a fight between he and fellow former heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder happening next year.
Yes, we’ve been here before, and we all know how frustrating it was seeing Wilder’s team unable to come to a deal with Joshua’s team, with us fans being deprived of a massive heavyweight collision between two stars who were both unbeaten at the time. But now, although Joshua-Wilder is not as big as it was, as it could have been, it’s still huge, it’s still one of the top two or three best, most exciting heavyweight match-ups that can be made today.
And Joshua said confidently to IFL TV that the fight “will happen.”
“Yeah, I look at Deontay Wilder, he said he’s got a couple of years left, and he probably wants to put me on his hit-list,” Joshua said. “So it’s a fight that’ll definitely happen now he’s more than eager. He’s a bit older now, so he’s looking to make the last [few years] of his career successful ones; he wants to fight some of the top names of the division. So yeah, I’m sure he’ll be keen [to fight me.]”
It really would be an awful shame if Joshua and Wilder both retired not having faced each other. But will we ever get to see this guaranteed explosion of a fight? It seems there is every chance Wilder will next face Andy Ruiz in a WBC final eliminator, and anything could happen in that fight. While Eddie Hearn suggests strongly how Joshua’s next fight could be against the winner of this month’s Dillian Whyte-Jermain Franklin fight, with AJ likely to return in late February or March. And who knows if Joshua beats either Whyte (in what would be a rematch) or Franklin?
Who at this point in time has more left, AJ or Wilder? And do both giants really, truly, absolutely want to fight each other? Here’s hoping for 2023.