Hearn wants Anthony Joshua to take an easier fight while he waits for Oleksandr Usyk

By Michael Collins - 03/16/2022 - Comments

Eddie Hearn wants Anthony Joshua to fight more of a stay busy-level fight for his interim match-up in May or June rather than a potentially tough one while he waits for Oleksandr Usyk to return from Ukraine.

Hearn feels that the fighters that Joshua has on his wish list for his next fight are potentially more dangerous than Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs), and he wants him to take someone more fitting for the occasion.

Joshua has picked these fighters as potential foes for his interim fight:

  • Joe Joyce
  • Deontay Wilder
  • Otto Wallin
  • Luis Ortiz

Anyone of those fighters would be a real threat to Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) right now, particularly with how he’s performed since 2019.

There’s a lot of money at stake for Joshua in a second fight against IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Usyk, and Hearn understandably doesn’t want to mess that up by putting AJ in with the wrong guy for his interim fight in May or June.

Fortunately for Hearn, the most dangerous guy on Joshua’s four-fighter list, former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs), likely won’t take a fight with him.

The unbeaten Joe Joyce (13-0, 12 KOs) and Otto Wallin (23-1, 14 KOs) are both chomping at the bit to fight Joshua, and they’re both tough outs for him.

These guys are far more significant and more potent than Usyk, and Joshua was hurt by the Ukrainian’s shots last September in his 12 round unanimous decision defeat in London.

“That’s the absolute priority for AJ to try and win his belts back. If Usyk won’t be ready for June, which I don’t think he will be, then we would like to have an interim bout,” said Eddie Hearn to DAZN Boxing Show.

Hearn wants Anthony Joshua to take an easier fight while he waits for Oleksandr Usyk

“AJ’s idea of an interim bout is very different than my idea of an interim bout,” Hearn continued. “AJ’s list that he sent me is Deontay Wilder, Luis Ortiz, Otto Wallin, and Joe Joyce.

“I’m thinking, ‘Look, I know you want to have a real fight, but we are waiting. This is a fight to be waiting for Usyk, not a fight that would be more dangerous than Usyk.’ Basically,” said Hearn when told that Joshua needs a “soft touch” for his interim fight.

Ultimately, the decision will be up to Joshua about who he faces next for his interim fight. With a net worth of $80 million, one gets the sense that Joshua is without caution now because he’s not going to be ruined if he loses his next fight. In other words, with the dough that Joshua has, he can cry himself to the bank after getting beaten in his next match.

You can argue that a less prosperous fighter would be more cautious and follow Hearn’s advice to take a softer opponent because they wouldn’t have the enormous fortune that AJ has to fall back on should they lose.