Eddie Hearn wants his star fighter, Anthony Joshua, to make up for lost time. As fans know, AJ has not fought more than twice a year since 2016, with the former two-time heavyweight champ fighting just one time in 2020 and just one time last year. The pandemic didn’t help Joshua’s activity levels, obviously. Now, with his must-win rematch with Oleksandr Usyk fast approaching, Hearn says AJ will be fighting again in December, whether he wins the rematch in Saudi Arabia or not.
There will be, as fans are keen to point out, a number of big and lucrative fights out there for Joshua even if he does lose for a career third time. There is, potentially, Deontay Wilder (still, in fact always, a massive fight for AJ, this providing Wilder does come back), Andy Ruiz (in a trilogy fight, the two currently being 1-1), Joe Joyce (a massive fight in the UK) – and Tyson Fury (this fight, always massive and always there for Joshua according to Hearn).
So we can look forward to two Joshua ring appearances here in 2022.
“One of the problems we’ve had with AJ is of course activity,” Hearn said in speaking once again with IFL TV. “A lot of that is down to Covid, a lot of that is because he only fights twice a year. The one thing he wants more than anything is activity and December will definitely be his next fight.”
A lot may depend on just HOW Joshua loses to Usyk, if he does in fact lose (and most people you talk to say he is going to lose to Usyk a second time). If it’s a punishing fight, or even a stoppage defeat for Joshua, that December fight might not happen. But if Joshua wins, or if he pushes Usyk close, Joshua’s confidence levels will be up and he will likely be looking to get right back in there. We will have to wait and see. It’s okay planning fights, but it can be dangerous when a fighter already has his next fight set.
It cannot be overstated how much of a must-win fight the Usyk rematch really is for Joshua.