Anthony Joshua told fans he wanted three fights in 2023, and he seems intent on delivering.
Under new coach, Derrick James, the Olympic Gold Medalist turned two-time heavyweight champion got back to winning ways this year.
Following his second loss to Oleksandr Usyk at the back end of 2022, he outpointed Jermaine Franklin and produced a much-needed knockout over Robert Helenius in the seventh round of their August bout.
All talk then focused on a fight against fellow former champ and knockout artist, Deontay Wilder. That’s been pushed back until at least Spring of 2024, so Joshua’s message to his team is clear – keep me busy.
As potential opponents are mentioned here and there by promoter Eddie Hearn, Joshua has taken himself to Texas to link back up with James, who also trains Errol Spence Jr, Frank Martin and Ryan Garcia.
He has been previously ticking over in the gym with Ben Davison, but this signals the start of fight camp. There were rumours that the move to the Brit’s gym could be permanent, but Joshua’s latest post put those to bed.
Prepare for glory. pic.twitter.com/Xl8E3XsPsR
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyjoshua) October 25, 2023
Hearn has mentioned a December date but said January is also an option. As is always the case on the heavyweight scene nowadays, his plans depend on another fight.
Should Tyson Fury come through Francis Ngannou unscathed this weekend, his already-signed undisputed bout with Usyk is being targeted for December 23.
Despite a short turnaround for a fight of such magnitude, the promotion insists the timeframe is realistic – and it would almost certainly mean ‘AJ’ not fighting that night.
If things play out that way, he could be looking at the first month of next year, and his opponent may depend on how the four-belt clash unfolds.
If a rematch is called – as per reports on the contract – at least one of the titles is expected to be stripped from the winner, meaning Joshua’s team could position him well to pick it up.