As fight fans may have read, promoter Eddie Hearn has laid out HIS plans as far as Anthony Joshua’s 2023 will go: AJ will fight three times this year. Speaking on the DAZN Boxing Show, Hearn said that his plan is for the former two-time heavyweight champ to return to the ring against “a top-15 guy,” then go on to fight Dillian Whyte in a rematch in the summer, before taking on Deontay Wilder in a “mega-fight” at the end of the year.
It sure sounds like a good plan, if a more than risky one for Joshua; the risk writ large in the form of Wilder’s name. But will it happen? Put aside for now the very real danger Joshua would face in a fight with Wilder (and Wilder would be facing danger himself if the fight happened) – this a fight that could end both fighters’ time as elite operators (a first round or second round KO, this the result plenty of fans feel would be the fate Joshua would suffer, as “gone” as his self-confidence is) – and the remind yourself how Joshua has not boxed more than twice a year since back in 2016, this when he took out Charles Martin, Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina.
Since then, it’s been one or two fights per annum for Joshua, with the years 2020, 2021 and 2022 seeing AJ fight just once each. Can Joshua, his confidence shaken badly by those two humbling losses to Oleksandr Usyk, really get through three training camps and three opponents, two of them tough and risky (AJ will almost certainly be fed a nice easy one on his planned April ring return, which could be pushed back to May, you never know, nor would you be surprised)?
It would be great to see Joshua get back that ‘eye of the tiger,’ that drive, and fight three times here in 2023. But if I was a betting man, I’d wager against him doing so. It could be two fights this year, but I’ll be most surprised if its three fights this year. What do YOU guys think about this?
Let’s face it, Joshua isn’t the only big-name fighter to have just a single fight during a 12-month period. These days, almost all the top fighters carry such a, let’s be cynical, hectic schedule – be it Terence Crawford, Errol Spence, Deontay Wilder, Oleksandr Usyk (who gets a pass as he was/is involved in a far more serious fight), Josh Taylor, and so many more champs/big names who appeared in the ring just once in 2022. This is the disturbingly growing trend we are faced with as fight fans/boxing junkies.
So, to repeat, it would be great if Joshua did get busy and fought three times this year. But how is AJ’s hunger as well as his confidence, are they enough to see him WANT to fight thrice in 2023, or in any future year? Here’s hoping Joshua proves wrong those of us who are sceptical that he will string a trio of fights together starting in April.