Anthony Joshua says he has an announcement “soon” on interim fight

By Michael Collins - 03/18/2022 - Comments

Anthony Joshua took to social media on Thursday to say that he has an announcement coming “soon” for his next fight in 2022.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn wants to keep him busy with an interim contest that will likely take place in June.

Hearn has made it clear that he’s not looking for a dangerous opponent for AJ to fight for his interim clash, so there’s a real possibility that we could see him fight a ham-and-egger level heavyweight.

As bad as Joshua looked in his last fight in losing to Oleksandr Usyk, would anyone blame him or Hearn if he faces a stiff for his interim fight? I think it’s safe to say that Joshua’s self-confidence is gone at this point, and probably won’t be coming back anytime soon.

If Hearn makes the mistake of putting Joshua in with a decent heavyweight like Joe Joyce, he could live to regret it. At this point, Joyce (13-0, 12 KOs) sees Joshua as food, and would likely wear him down and score a stoppage in the later rounds.

What we saw in Joshua’s last fight against Usyk is that his stamina is terrible, and he’s not capable of fighting hard for a full 12 rounds without gassing out.

The thing is, Usyk didn’t push a fast pace, yet Joshua STILL faded in the later rounds and was on the brink of being stopped in the 12th by the light-punching Ukrainian fighter.

The obvious choice for Joshua to fight is 38-year-old British journeyman Derek Chisora. He’s a household name in the UK, and until recently he was an entertaining fighter that made it fun to watch his fights.

Chisora’s career has finally tanked since 2020 with him losing his last three fights, but he would still be a popular choice for Joshua to fight in the summer. If the idea is for Hearn to give Joshua a gimme-level opponent with no shot at beating him, Chisora is the man for the job.

The suspects under consideration for AJ’s interim bout:

  • Otto Wallin
  • Joe Joyce
  • Joseph Parker
  • Luis Ortiz

Of those four, 42-year-old ‘King Kong’ Ortiz might be the best option if Joshua wants to fight a recognizable name for the fans. AJ already beat Parker in a boring fight, so there’s no point in recycling him.

Joyce is too risky for Joshua to fight, and Wallin wouldn’t be a very interesting fight. Moreover, the big southpaw Wallin is probably too tough for Joshua and likely would wear him down during the home straight.

Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) had been hoping to fight a rematch with Oleksandr Usyk next in May or June, but he’s got more on his plate right now defending Ukraine from the Russian invasion.

Regrettably, there’s a possibility that Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) won’t be available to fight Joshua for a long, long time if ever. You can argue that with Usyk out of the picture, Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) has the possibility of keeping his career afloat for a little while longer.

Anthony Joshua says he has an announcement "soon" on interim fight

Had Joshua taken the rematch with the talented Usyk straightaway, he likely would have been beaten again, but this time even worse and his career would have been over.

“The only fight AJ wants is Oleksandr Usyk, so we don’t want that obligation for the rematch to disappear, we don’t want to get out of it, he’s already turned down a lot of money to get out of it — AJ’s got no interest,” said Eddie Hearn to Fight Hub TV.

“If we’ve got to have an interim belt whilst we wait for Oleksandr Usyk, that’s something we’ll look at as well, but we want the Oleksandr Usyk fight,” said Hearn.