Anthony Joshua’s boxing career will be on the line when he next steps into the ring, his promoter Eddie Hearn has declared.
After suffering back-to-back defeats and losing his heavyweight world titles to Oleksandr Usyk, AJ is now planning a rebuild, with April the date marked for his return.
This will begin with a comeback fight on April 1 at London’s O2 Arena against a ‘credible opponent’ who is yet to be confirmed.
Hearn told iFL TV: “This is the most excited I’ve been on Anthony Joshua’s journey so far because I think it’s exciting.
“You go into that fight in April – you know that with defeat, it’s all over, really. It would be a third back-to-back defeat.
“And yet a great performance and a showreel knockout gets everyone saying, ‘We’re back, we’re back baby.’
“That’s what I can’t wait for, because I love it when our backs are against the wall.
“That’s the best moments and this is one of those moments for AJ.”
Providing Joshua does come though on April 1, the plan is for him to return in a more serious showdown in July.
Hearn continued: “AJ wants a big fight in the summer.
“The one that would make sense and the one that should be hopefully quite straightforward to make is the rematch with Dillian Whyte.
“We’re open to a Deontay Wilder fight, we’re open to a Tyson Fury fight.
“But yeah, in my mind, with AJ fighting in April and Dillian probably fighting around the same time, that would lead them to a big all-British heavyweight fight in the summer. That’s what I’d like to do.
“AJ wants to be in the biggest fights possible and if a bigger fight rears its head – there’s only two bigger fights in the division than Dillian Whyte, that’s Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.
“If they appear somehow, 100 per cent willing to look at those as well.
Hearn might say AJ wants to fight Wilder, but the American’s coach, Malik Scott, has suggested the Brit is running away from facing the Bronze Bomber.
“At one time it looked like we’re getting ready to get a Deontay-AJ fight made, then you hear AJ and his team want to do other things.
“It seems like he’s ducking all my heavyweights.You have got to fight one of my heavyweights, man, we’re waiting on you over here.You’re ducking Deontay Wilder.”