Anthony Joshua unfollows promoter Eddie Hearn in social media cull

The evolution of social media has transformed how we view professional athletes, and Anthony Joshua has sparked suspicions after reducing his follower count to the bare essentials.

Former unified world heavyweight boxing champion Joshua now follows only 25 accounts on Instagram and only 20 on Twitter, made up almost exclusively of his own sponsors.

Even his long-term Matchroom promoter, Eddie Hearn, was dropped from the social media circle in the process, although he appeared unfazed by the digital devastation.

Speaking to iFL TV following George Kambosos Jr's shock split-decision win over Teofimo Lopez on Saturday, the Matchroom figurehead was relaxed and ensured he still talks to Joshua "every day."

When asked about the mass 'unfollowing', Hearn replied: "Nothing. I think he's unfollowed everyone but his sponsors, hasn't he?"

He then grinned before adding: "Don't worry, we still talk every day."

It's the sort of situation that might make a promoter long for the days before social media, when changes to an athlete's follower count wouldn't cause a ripple among the boxing community.

'AJ' recently dropped to fifth in the WBA heavyweight rankings after he suffered a stunning unanimous-decision defeat to Oleksandr Usyk in September.

Each of Hughie Fury, Daniel Dubois, Robert Helenius and Michael Hunter now sit ahead of Joshua, who is assessing his options after losing the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles.

Do you think Anthony Joshua should rematch Oleksandr Usyk or allow Tyson Fury to fight him? Let us know in the comments section.

It was assumed Joshua would take up a rematch with two-weight world champion Usyk, but Tyson Fury has raised interest in fighting the Ukrainian.

And Joshua refused to rule out the prospect of stepping aside if it was for the right offer, as he told iFL TV : "In terms of stepping aside, I don't know if that goes in line with what a morally stand for… but I want to be known as one of the smartest businessmen as well.

"I want to make the smart decisions and if the money is right we would have to look at it but respect has more value than money.

"Will I take the step-aside money? If its a smart business move. . .will it affect my reputation and respect? Will I still get to fight the best fighters? Those are the three things I have to consider."

The 32-year-old's social media exodus could suggest a hint toward that new focus on business above all else, with only his sponsors seemingly of interest moving forward.

Joshua signed a new 'career-long' contract with Matchroom just prior to his defeat against Usyk, and while no length to the deal was specified, it's a sign that the relationship between the parties is thriving.

Losing to former cruiserweight king Usyk wasn't in the plans at the time the deal was announced, though Hearn remains calm despite any notion of discontent between him and one of the sport's biggest stars.

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