A June 25 date is pencilled in at the O2 Arena for Joshua, who must meet a contender in the Top 15 under the IBF’s voluntary rules. Hearn has name-dropped three American foes as potential challengers to Joshua who is then slated for a mandatory against Joshua Parker or Carlos Takam later in the year.
“The IBF put out their new rankings today and we have to box someone in the top 15 of those rankings,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“We expect from those rankings the likes of Bermane Stiverne, Eric Molina, Dominic Breazeale. Those kind of people will be in the mix. There has been big interest from US broadcasters in Anthony Joshua. I think a US opponent makes sense for us.
“He wants to go in with a real test and a bigger test than what he has been facing so far. The likes of those guys will provide that opportunity.
“Stiverne is a solid fighter. Eric Molina is just coming off a big win against Tomasz Adamek, a good fighter, went 10 rounds with Deontay Wilder and rocked him in the fight as well. Breazeale is dangerous, 17-0, 15 knockouts, 6ft 8in Olympian, so these are real guys and he wants a real fight.”
Joshua, 26, is also being linked to fighting UK rivals Tyson Fury and David Haye later in the year, although the latter is already pencilled in to face Shannon Briggs in September.
Only one new addition made it into the new IBF ratings and that was Frenchman Johann Duhaupas who has already called out Joshua in a previous interview with WBN.