Eddie Hearn has rubberstamped World Boxing News’ recent confirmation that Anthony Joshua has to fight an opponent with American ties.
WBN confirmed a list of possibles for Joshua on Wednesday. All of those appearing have connections to or are from the United States themselves.
Going as far as ruling out Dillian Whyte, Mahmoud Charr and Agit Kabayel, the list contained a host of those now said to be in with a real chance.
The contenders were MICHAEL HUNTER, ADAM KOWNACKI, LUIS ORTIZ, OSCAR RIVAS, SERGEY KUZMIN, ARTUR SZPILKA, CHRIS ARREOLA, TREVOR BRYAN and JERMAINE FRANKLIN.
Hearn hasn’t disregarded any of those contenders out. One man the Matchroom boss did rule out was DILLIAN WHYTE. ‘The Bodysnatcher’ was placed on WBN’s ‘unlikely’ section, which has since proved to be the case.
“Obviously it’s a fight in America, so from our point of view, we would like an American challenger really,” Hearn told Sky Sports News. “I don’t think it will be Dillian Whyte.
“You go through the list: Luis Ortiz; Adam Kownacki; Michael Hunter; Manuel Charr; Agit Kabayel. He’s the European champion who beat Derek Chisora.
“There’s probably seven or eight guys I think would fit the bill. Being an American debut, in an ideal world we would like it to be an American, or someone that fights in America.”
The final line of Hearn’s statement to Sky effectively means Charr and Kabayel won’t be offered the fight before their American counterparts.
For WBN’s money, Hunter would be the hot favorite head of Kownacki and Ortiz
The remaining doubtful contains the following: BRYANT JENNINGS, JOHANN DUHAUPAS, ROBERT HELENIUS and AGIT KABAYEL.
Finally, those completely out of contention – which included Charr – can be found HERE.
Matchroom signing Hunter to a contract recently really does put the former cruiserweight world title challenger in the driving seat.
Add to that the fact Hunter is on form. Plus, he has shared the ring with future Joshua opponent Oleksandr Usyk. It seems inevitable.
Hunter is already in training for a fight on May 25. Joshua v Hunter makes sense all round. Just maybe not in terms of competitiveness.
AJ would be a massive favorite to win against a predominant cruiserweight. The champ should have no problem looking good for the US audiences.
Kownacki would probably be less of an underdog, although from the names Hearn mentioned, only Ortiz would stand any chance whatsoever.
As things stand, Ortiz would need more time to prepare for the challenge. The Cuban is also lined up for the winner of Deontay Wilder v Dominic Breazeale later this year.