It seems Anthony Joshua will not fight more than twice this year. The unified WBA/WBO/IBF heavyweight champ will come back after the longest layoff of his pro career on June 1, against late sub Andy Ruiz; A.J previously being in action nine months ago, against Alexander Povetkin – and assuming all goes well against the Mexican/American, Joshua will fight again in November or December.
This is what promoter Eddie Hearn said to Sky Sports earlier today, and Hearn said the fight he wants to make, still, is Joshua against Deontay Wilder. But if Hearn is far from convinced this fight will actually happen this year, he is far from alone. Fans have long since grown weary of this seemingly all but impossible fight to make. So if it’s not Wilder in November or December (it won’t be), then who might A.J face (and again, this is assuming he comes through okay against a a very determined-sounding Ruiz)?
Hearn mentioned a few names as possibilities:
“Josh is fighting June 1 and then he’ll go in November-December, and that’s when we want the Wilder fight,” Hearn said. “It’s the only fight to make next for both guys, but everything we’re hearing out of their camp is not really giving us much encouragement that this is the fight that’s going to happen. It’s frustrating because Joshua wants all the big fights, but what can you do? You can just keep winning. We saw Usyk got injured yesterday and he’s out of May 25th, but he will be the [WBO] mandatory and that’s a fight that could happen in December. Maybe the Dillian Whyte fight happens in December, he’s got to beat Oscar Rivas first. Maybe Josh fights Tyson Fury, maybe he takes the IBF mandatory in Pulev. Anything can happen.”
As unlikely as it seems that A.J will face Wilder in November/December (Hearn has said a number of times how he has heard Wilder has his next two fights planned: against Luis Ortiz and then Adam Kownacki), it also seems doubtful Joshua will collide with Fury then. Fury has said he has his own next two fights planned for after his fight with Tom Schwarz; Fury saying he aims to fight in September and then in December. Fury also said he would then be “done.”
It would be some shock if Fury did actually fight Joshua in December; albeit a welcomer shock. My guess, it will be Pulev next for Joshua; Usyk being nowhere near ready after just one fight. And while a Joshua-Pulev fight is okay, it’s not the big fight we want.