Eddie Hearn has revealed that his charge Anthony Joshua’s spar with a fellow British heavyweight was ‘a massacre.’
The promoter is helping to rebuild Joshua following a pair of losses to Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and 2022 that saw the Brit relieved of his WBO, WBA and IBF world titles and then fail to win them back.
Since then, ‘AJ’ has fought to a points win over Jermaine Franklin and knocked out Robert Helenius. He is now in protracted negotiations to fight American former WBC world titlist Deontay Wilder.
In the past, there have been calls for him to face his countryman Joe Joyce, reigniting a rivalry from the amateur days. Unfortunately, any momentum that was built collapsed when ‘The Juggernaut’ suffered his second defeat to Zhilei Zhang.
Hearn has since ruled out the fight and, speaking to Seconds Out, gave some insight into one of their past spars.
“I’ve seen AJ spar Joe Joyce. It’s a massacre. But Joe never stopped coming. It’s competitive but you’re watching it [through your hands] and you don’t wanna see those kinds of fights. As much as Joe Joyce gets hit, if you start seeing him get wobbled by lesser fighters it’s sad to see.”
The promoter stopped short of calling for Joyce to hang up the gloves.
“I don’t like saying you should retire, it’s an individual choice.”
Joyce has vowed to fight on following the defeat, while Zhang seems well-placed for a mandatory shot against Oleksandr Usyk even though he is more vociferously calling out Tyson Fury.
As for Joshua, the Wilder talks have taken a recent hit that may see him out in December against another opponent before facing the American in the first half of 2024.
Whether or not Zhang fits the bill remains to be seen, and any promoter will be wary of him given he entered the first Joyce bout an underdog.