Anthony Joshua will NOT fight again in 2022 as Eddie Hearn reveals he is instead set to return ‘very early next year’ ahead of potential blockbuster against Deontay Wilder – which he believes is ‘the biggest fight in boxing’
- Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua will return to the ring ‘very early next year’
- Joshua is still reeling from his rematch defeat against Oleksandr Usyk in August
- The former heavyweight champion was offered a shock chance to fight WBC king Tyson Fury a few weeks later, only for talks to collapse earlier this month
- Now AJ will set his sights on the start of his road to redemption in early 2023
Anthony Joshua will not return to the ring in 2022 and is instead set to do so ‘very early next year’, says promoter Eddie Hearn.
Joshua and Hearn are plotting a route back to the top of the heavyweight division following a second straight defeat against Oleksandr Usyk in August.
The Brit first lost his unified titles to Usyk in September 2021, before failing to regain them despite a more valiant effort in the Saudi Arabia rematch 11 months later.
Just a few weeks after that shortcoming, AJ was handed a shock lifeline by domestic rival Tyson Fury, who offered him the chance to fight for his WBC championship in December.
Anthony Joshua (L) will return to the ring ‘very early next year’, says promoter Eddie Hearn (R)
Joshua is still reeling from his rematch defeat against Oleksandr Usyk back in August
However, talks between the two camps broke down earlier this month, meaning Fury is now taking on Derek Chisora and Joshua is still on the hunt for his next opponent.
That next opponent could be Deontay Wilder, who has expressed his desire to finally face the former unified champion following his brutal knockout of Robert Helenius last weekend.
Though while he is excited by the prospect of Joshua vs Wilder, Hearn insists his fighter will not be out again before the end of the year.
‘Joshua against Deontay Wilder may be the biggest fight in boxing because someone is knocking somebody out in that fight,’ he told Fight Hub TV. ‘It’s one that you watch like that [with hands over eyes].
The Brit was offered a shock chance to face Tyson Fury (L) after that loss, but when talks between the two camps broke down the Gypsy King turned his attention to Derek Chisora (R)
A showdown between AJ and Deontay Wilder (pictured) has also been mooted in recent weeks
But Joshua himself will not return to the ring until early 2023, Hearn has revealed this week
‘Joshua will be back very early next year, and I want to see him get active.’
It is unclear exactly what that means for Joshua’s lucrative contract with DAZN. Back in June, the 33-year-old signed a reported £90million deal with the streaming giants for two fights per year.
So far AJ has only boxed once against Usyk in August, meaning he will not fulfil the terms of his contract.
Meanwhile, Wilder could be set for a showdown with PBC stablemate Andy Ruiz Jr in his next contest.
The WBC are reportedly set to order a bout between Wilder and Ruiz in a final eliminator for Fury’s title, and Hearn is all for it.
Wilder instead appears set to face PBC stablemate Andy Ruiz Jr (pictured) in his next outing
He added: ‘Ruiz-Wilder is a brilliant fight. I really like Andy Ruiz. I thought he looked better against [Luis] Ortiz, it was a good victory. I see him beating Deontay Wilder.
‘Wilder was good the other night. [Robert] maybe past his best. Still, Wilder is very dangerous, he’s brilliant for the sport, and Andy Ruiz is a warrior – so he won’t mind standing in front of Wilder.
‘He has that low style that comes in over the top, and sometimes Wilder doesn’t like that a lot. That’s what Joshua had trouble with. I just think Wilder vs Ruiz is a brilliant fight. Hopefully, we get to see that.’
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