Anthony Joshua has confirmed that longtime American rival, Deontay Wilder, is on his heavyweight hit list.
Joshua was in Abu Dhabi for the Matchroom fight card, topped by a masterful performance from Dmitry Bivol to retain his WBA Light Heavyweight belt and take Gilberto Ramirez’ undefeated record. Of course, questions surrounding his return to the ring were inevitable.
Following consecutive losses to Oleksandr Usyk, ‘AJ’ is away from challenging for, or holding, the world titles for the first time in a long time. In theory, the lack of mandatories and politics that the belts bring with them should now allow Joshua to fight more and make interesting match-ups that were perhaps not possible before.
When asked if ‘The Bronze Bomber’ was on his ‘hit list‘, Joshua responded affirmatively, as captured by Boxing Social.
“He’s on there, that’s for sure. He’s on there.”
Although open to it, the mood of the interview changed slightly, and it’s not farfetched to assume that Joshua is growing tired of the questions about opponents. When asked if he had a preference, ‘AJ’ said that it’s more about ‘what the people want’ – which is good news for fans. Outside of a Tyson Fury showdown, most demand is surely for the Wilder fight.
Of course, back when both held titles was the perfect time to make the fight, but network disputes got in the way. Still, having both men on a comeback trail does make for a good story too. If Usyk does indeed face Fury for undisputed next year, what better way to determine ‘third place’ in the division that ‘AJ’ and Wilder throwing down?
With talks finally looking positive between Eddie Hearn and Shelly Finkel, it’s looking more likely that the two former champions will face off in 2023. Having said that, many in the sport will look to the years of attempts to make the fight and, perhaps rightfully, hold off on any excitement until the ring walk music kicks in.