You have to go back to 2019 for the last time former heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua, 24-2(22) fought more than once in a year. It was in 2019 that AJ lost to Andy Ruiz, in June, and the avenged the loss, in December. Now, having boxed just once in 2020 and once in 2021, Eddie Hearn says Joshua will fight twice this year – in July or August, this the return fight with Oleksandr Usyk, and then in December, against……well, who knows? But Hearn says he wants to see a massive heavyweight unification showdown between Joshua and Tyson Fury.
Hearn doesn’t believe Fury has really retired, while the promoter has predicted that Joshua will get revenge over Usyk, via KO “inside six rounds.” If Hearn is proven correct on both counts, then maybe Fury and Joshua will indeed get it on. But there is so much that must fall into place before we can even think about that super-fight. But Hearn is adamant AJ will box twice this year.
“AJ’s fighting twice this year,” Hearn told IFL TV. “Any delay (to the Usyk rematch) can only be a couple of weeks because we want to make sure that he’s good to go again in December. July 23rd is still the working date. If there was a delay it wouldn’t be a massive issue for anybody.”
But if the Usyk-Joshua rematch takes place in August, this will give AJ around four/five months to rest, recover and then get back into training for the December fight. It’s possible it could happen, but what if the Usyk rematch turns out to be a tough, even punishing fight, for both men? And as for what would happen if Joshua lost to Usyk a second time (as plenty of experts feel he will), no-one knows, yet a fight in December would be a surprise.
Basically, it’s all on the line for Joshua in the Usyk rematch, it’s a fight he simply has to win. If Joshua comes up short once again, his career as an elite fighter will be in real trouble. As things stand now, it could be that no less than 11 long months will have gone by by the time the second Usyk-Joshua fight takes place, and ring rust may prove a real factor in the rematch, for both fighters.
That points win scored by Usyk seems a long time ago now.