Eddie Hearn revealed today the three options under consideration for Anthony Joshua’s next fight in July. Hearn’s three names on his short list for Joshua are Deontay Wilder, Otto Wallin and Dillian Whyte.
The idea is to give Joshua a step up from his last fight against Jermaine Franklin, who he handled with ease last Saturday night but failed to look impressive due to his timid approach to the battle and his failure to throw combinations.
Whyte is not a step up for Joshua. It’s more of a business-level fight that will bring in good money for AJ, Whyte & Matchroom. The fight won’t help Joshua prepare for a quality opponent like Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder because Whyte is 100% over the hill at this stage of his career and is more of a second-tier level heavyweight.
Hearn says he wants Joshua (25-3, 22 KOs) to be firing on all eight cylinders later this year in December when he faces Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder.
“I was relieved to get the win, in all honestly. I felt he’d get the win. There was a huge amount of pressure. Everyone was talking on fight week, ‘Lose and it’s retirement.’ They were probably right,'” Eddie Hearn told Ariel Helwani about Anthony Joshua’s fight last Saturday night against Jermaine Franklin in London.
“Dillian Whyte, Otto Wallin,” said Hearn when asked who he wants Joshua to fight in July. “Joe Joyce is another fight, he’s a tough fight, but I just feel that if we’re going to go into a Fury or Wilder, which is inevitable, I want him to go in with the best chance that he has.
“I feel that right now, he’s not at the optimum level to go into that fight. He would still go into them, and I would give him a chance in those fights. I believe he can win those fights, but I’d just like to see him firing going into those fights. What I saw on Saturday wasn’t AJ firing on all eight cylinders.
“As far as AJ is concerned, June or July could be the period where the Fury fight could happen. Fury is going to fight this summer. He has to. He’s not going to wait until November or December to fight Oleksandr Usyk.
“Fury-Usyk is dead for certainly the summer, but there’s a lot of people out there with a lot of money that have unfinished business with the world championship. So I feel there will be another push to make that fight later in the year.
“I want to see you manhandle people like that in the clinch. I want to see you brutalize the body and hit them around the side of the head,” said Hearn about what he wants to see from Joshua moving forward.
“When he did that in the closing rounds, he looked really dangerous. Sometimes we can expect a little too much, and we expected AJ to go in and destroy. So in that respect, some were a little disappointed, but maybe in reality, looking at the emotions after the Usyk fight, looking at the new trainer, and looking at the move, I’m sitting here happy on Monday, knowing I’m planning his next fight for July,” said Hearn.