This week’s decision will be made on Anthony Joshua’s next opponent. However, there are doubts about Oleksandr Usyk’s participation in this summer fight.
Joshua lost his WBA and IBF heavyweight belts to the Ukrainian in September. A rematch was planned for the first half 2022.
Russia invaded Ukraine last month, and Usyk and Vasiliy Lomachenko, a fellow boxer, returned to Ukraine to enlist in military service. Both were allowed to leave to prepare for their respective bouts, but Lomachenko declined the opportunity to fight George Kambosos in a lightweight contest.
June date for rematch?
Now, Promotor Eddie Hearn expects Joshua’s latest opponent to do the exact same.
“I thought Usyk would take the fight in June. But, obviously, with Lomachenko’s announcement last night it makes you wonder if Usyk can come out and say, ‘Nice, I’m fighting (Joshua). Hearn stated that they were just telling him what he needs to know.
“If you’re interested in fighting, let us know. If not, we’ll give time. But we will fight June. This is what we hope to decide this week.
“This week is the deadline because we want to move on. AJ isn’t getting restless but he still wants to fight and be active.
Joshua and Hearn met at the O2 Arena for UFC London on Saturday. The Matchroom and DAZN promotor admitted that the Briton was eager to return to the ring.
The former world heavyweight champion was only in action two times since the outbreak of coronavirus in 2002. He stopped Kubrat Pulev in round seven at the end 2020, before being defeated by Usyk in September.
Hearn stated that AJ was good and loved UFC, but he wanted to fight after a press conference held at Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch in which he announced a May 21 light-heavyweight bout between Joshua Buatsi (Craig Richards)
He wanted to fight. He is enthusiastic, he wants active and that is what has been lacking in his career.
“I believe it is because of his commercial obligations but also trying to be more active with the pandemic. It has been two fights in 2 years so he feels that he wants to get back active.”
Joyce fight deemed unsuitable
Hearn is looking for an opponent to keep Joshua (22-4) in good shape before the Usyk (19-0 rematch).
Londoner Joe Joyce was vocal on social media regarding his compatriot, fellow Olympic medallist.
Hearn argued that it would be logical to fight a southpaw, if you’re preparing for Usyk. So Luis Ortiz and Otto Wallin.
Joe Joyce is calling him out. He is open to fighting anyone. He’s accustomed to boxing almost everyone in the division so it shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll see if an interim fight is possible.
“If it’s an interim, then probably London. But if it’s not, it could also be…international.”