Anthony Joshua has always made it clear his goal is to become a three-time heavyweight world champion and his promoter, Eddie Hearn, believes he could achieve that in his next fight.
Joshua first lost his titles in a shock upset to Andy Ruiz Jr back in 2019, but regained them just six months later in the rematch. Oleksandr Usyk then dethroned ‘AJ’ from this WBA, IBF and WBO belts two years later and that time the Brit wasn’t able to get them back as the Ukrainian once again out pointed him in their second meeting.
Since then Joshua has linked up with new trainer Derrick James and has had two victories over Jermaine Franklin and Robert Helenius as he looks to get back into world title contention.
Speaking to Boxing Social about who Joshua might fight next, Hearn said that a recent IBF ruling meant that Filip Hrgovic ‘was the fight’ that made the most sense.
“The news from the IBF changes things a little bit in respect of, basically, the winner of Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk has to fight Filip Hrgovic or they’ll be stripped and they’re not going to.
[Anthony Joshua vs Hrgovic] is the fight. I believe that fight will happen, potentially for the world title, so if it does we have to look at that. We’ve got the Wilder fight, so there is a lot to think about, but that news certainly changes things, the goal is for AJ to become a three time world champion and that would allow us to do that.
The Wilder fight is much bigger, but the Hrgovic fight comes with a world title which will always take priority, but we’ll have to see how it plays out.”
Joshua had been expected to face American, Deontay Wilder, but after an offer from Saudi Arabia’s Skills Challenge Promotions was withdrawn that now looks unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Hearn and his charge will have to overcome one obstacle in Otto Wallin, who recently became IBF number two, leap frogging Joshua with a win over Murat Gassiev.
There has been no official order for Hrgovic – co-promoted by Hearn – to fight the number two challenger, so a fight with Joshua could be potentially made without consideration of Wallin’s position.