Anthony Joshua is ‘getting ready’ for a December showdown with Deontay Wilder in Saudi Arabia, believing the fight that has been building for seven years is close to being delivered.
The two-time heavyweight world champion marked his return to the ring with a unanimous points win over Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Arena in April, the first stage in a three-fight plan devised to return him to the summit of the division.
Those plans appeared to change shortly after the victory, however, with ‘AJ’ revealing just over a week later that he will not be out again until December.
Heavyweight boxing has been awash with rumours of a spectacular four-man tournament involving its biggest hitters; Joshua, Wilder, Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury. It has been suggested Joshua and Wilder could even fight on the same night Usyk and Fury finally meet for their undisputed title clash in a historic event for the sport.
The 2012 Olympic gold medal winner has twice fought in Saudi Arabia, against Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 and his rematch with Usyk last summer, with the region determined to become the new home of boxing. Their plans to bring four of its box office names all under the same roof are ambitious but very realistic, says Joshua.
‘From my experiences with Saudi, if they say they are going to do something, they are more than likely going to do it,’ Joshua told Metro.co.uk.
So that’s one end of it. And then you let the other guys [promoter Eddie Hearn, his management team] do what they do. But as the man behind the scenes, it is important to start getting ready.’
Recall, Joshua and Wilder have been on collision course since the former picked up his first world title in 2016, taking the IBF strap after flattening Charles Martin on one of the most celebrated nights in his career.