British heavyweight Joe Joyce has disputed promoter Eddie Hearn’s claim that an offer was made to fight Anthony Joshua.
Reports quoted Hearn as stating Joshua ‘wanted to fight’ Joyce instead of choosing the lighter option of Jermaine Franklin.
Joe Joyce on Eddie Hearn’s AJ offer
In response, Joyce sent Hearn a ‘Pinocchio’ emoji as if he knew nothing about the supposed approach.
Joyce is set to battle Zhang Zhilei on April 15, two weeks after Joshua returns from two defeats against American Franklin.
On paper, Joyce has the more challenging assignment. The WBO number one bids to cement his place as the mandatory challenger.
‘The Juggernaut’ believes AJ is taking little risks as he knows another loss would devastate his five-year DAZN deal.
A fight with Tyson Fury was never really on the cards for Joshua despite plenty of fluff in the UK media in late 2022.
Anthony Joshua is taking no risks
Speaking to talkSPORT, Joyce got real on Joshua’s choice of test for the spring as he’s demoted to arenas for the first time in six years.
“I guess he wants to take the long route back, who shall not be named. I went to the Olympics, and I turned professional at 31. I’ve had to get a move on,” said Joyce.
“My team has strategically made the right steps. I’ve boxed all over the world on all the channels. To get to the top, you have to plan out your route.
“I’ve delivered in all of my fights. I’m on a mission.”
Joyce undoubtedly is after a brilliant stoppage of Joseph Parker, a foe that Joshua had trouble dealing with when they traded blows.
However, after his career nosedived on the back of the Andy Ruiz Jr. knockout, Joshua aims to impress a third coach in his last three bouts.
“I’m looking forward to stepping back into the ring on April 1 at The O2 in London,” Joshua stated at the press conference for the Franklin non-Pay Per View.
“Mentally and physically, I feel ready. I want to put on a show and impress my coach [Derrick James], who has high standards.
“Franklin has a good style and a great attitude, which he has shown in recent fights.”
Joshua vs Franklin
On campaigning on off PPV for the first time since before his Dillian Whyte clash in 2015, Joshua added: “This will be my first fight broadcast on DAZN in the UK.
“It will be globally available on the platform. I want to thank DAZN for supporting both myself and the sport of boxing as a whole.
“I would also like to thank the team at 258 and Matchroom Boxing.”
Joshua hopes to avoid looking like an April fool when the first bell goes.
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of experienced boxing writer Phil Jay. Twitter @PhilJWBN. Follow WBN: Facebook, Insta, Twitter.