Anthony Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has made it clear there is one man ‘AJ’ will fight before he retires.
Joshua made his comeback to the ring last weekend after seven months out following consecutive defeats to Oleksandr Usyk. The former two-time champion secured his first victory since 2020, beating American Jermaine Franklin in a wide points decision.
Although Joshua got back to winning ways, it wasn’t the statement performance fans had been hoping for, and he himself admitted he was looking to return with a vicious knockout.
With the win under his belt, though, attention now turns to who he’ll face next in the plan to be back in the ring within 12 weeks.
All the pre-fight talk was about a summer blockbuster against Tyson Fury, but the manner of Joshua’s victory last week has dampened those prospects, and a rematch with Dillian Whyte is now the front runner.
However, when speaking to iD Boxing, it wasn’t Whyte, Fury or even Deontay Wilder who Hearn said Joshua will ‘100%’ face before he retires.
“AJ’s made it very clear the fights he wants and Joe Joyce is on that list.
He’s sparred thousands of rounds with Joe Joyce, they grew up really learning the sport and competing on the amateur system and it’s a really good fight. There is really no reason that fight shouldn’t happen in AJ’s career.
I see him having between, I don’t know, 5 and 8 fights left and 100% Joe Joyce will be in that, whether that’s this summer I don’t know.
It’s not really a fight we’ve looked at beyond Dillian Whyte because Dillian Whyte is part of, ultimately the team, we don’t rule out a Joe Joyce fight.”
Joyce himself has a tough challenge to get through next if he wants to face Joshua anytime soon, taking on hard hitting Chinese heavyweight, Zhilei Zhang, in London on April 15.