Eddie Hearn outlined a new plan for Anthony Joshua that doesn’t include taking up the option to fight Deontay Wilder immediately.
World Boxing News revealed in a world exclusive on the back of Dillian Whyte’s controversial return victory in 2022 that Wilder is willing to face Joshua next.
Co-manager Shelly Finkel spoke exclusively to WBN to clarify an offer is on the table. Talks between Finkel and Hearn, which had stalled due to disagreements, were even revived.
However, the Matchroom boss is now plotting a slow-burn return to the top for Joshua, who has convincingly lost his last two contests.
Oleksandr Usyk, WBN’s Fighter of the Year for 2022, had way too much in his locker for AJ on both occasions they met.
Rebuilding Anthony Joshua
Joshua has to rebuild. And despite avoiding the heaviest hitter in boxing is advisable, Hearn’s three-fight plan was greeted with a lukewarm reception.
“He [Anthony Joshua] wants to return to return with a Top fifteen guy,” Hearn told DAZN Boxing’s Show. It’s all very well being brave, listening to Twitter, going out, and fighting Deontay Wilder [in his next fight]. But there has to be a plan, a smart plan.”
The Essex man added: “In the summer, probably versus Dillian Whyte [in a rematch] and then a megafight with Deontay Wilder.”
During the broadcast, Hearn also offered his opinion that Tyson Fury would fight Wilder again before Joshua gets a look in. That can be taken with a pinch of salt after Hearn was adamant the pair would never face each other in the first place back in 2018.
Fury and Joshua have also failed to sign contracts twice, with Hearn stating the bouts would happen. Alongside similar to Wilder, also in 2018.
Therefore, some comments on Hearn’s plan didn’t display any confidence in that three-event blueprint coming to fruition.
Deontay Wilder avoided
“Exactly what I expected,” said one. “Shelly Finkel contacted Eddie. They said [to World Boxing News] they were ready to fight next. But he most likely told them to give us one or two fights before we can actually negotiate anything meaningful.”
“He is not fighting Wilder. That ship has sailed,” read another comment. “He didn’t want him when he had the belts, now all of a sudden he wants him [later]. Yeah, ok, Edward.
A third stated: “I don’t believe any of this happens.”
Joshua avoiding Wilder is probably the smart play as the British former two-time world heavyweight champion cannot afford another loss.
Usyk proved the 2012 Olympic gold medalist has some way to go to compete with the likes of himself, Wilder, and Fury. Something that many boxing commentators in the sport have known for some time now.
Whether Joshua will ever be able to compete after getting far too comfortable in his UK situation at the height of his powers is another debate entirely.
For now, scratch Deontay Wilder vs Anthony Joshua off your list for the immediate future at the request of the DAZN promoter.