By Barry Holbrook: Eddie Hearn says there is a possibility Anthony Joshua will face Deontay Wilder directly in the first quarter of 2023.
Hearn contacted Shelly Finkel, manager of former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs), and invited them to Abu Dhabi this Saturday night to discuss a fight with Joshua.
At this point, Hearn is not sure if Joshua will fight Wilder for the first, second or third time in 2023. Joshua could have a hot fight in February if he chooses to return to the ring early next year.
If Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) waits until April or May for the first fight in 2023, he could fight Dillian Whyte (29-3, 19 KOs) or Wilder.
Obviously, Joshua fighting 34-year-old Whyte will not appeal to American boxing fans because he has no name in America, and his fans who know him remember his sixth round loss to Tyson. Anger last April.
British boxing fans love the idea of Joshua fighting Whyte, but that fight isn’t happening anywhere else.
Wilder redeemed himself in the eyes of many fans with a first round victory over Robert Helenius on October 15th, as good as it was.
Going into this fight, some people think Wilder is over after Tyson Fury’s recent loss. However, Wilder dropped from the 230s to 214 lbs for the Helenius fight, and he looked especially sharp, the best he’s been in years.
“I invited them to Abu Dhabi this week, but I see the Deontay Wilder fight is probably the second fight for Anthony Joshua to be honest, but he wants to fight everyone,” Eddie Hearn told the DAZN Boxing Show.
It will be interesting if Joshua chooses to fight Wilder in his first fight in 2023 instead of playing because he has lost his last two fights against Oleksandr Usyk.
“If he waits, he can join this war,” Hearn said about Wilder possibly being Joshua’s first fight in 2023. “It all depends on when he comes back.
“If he comes back at the beginning of the year, he will fight someone else, and if not, he will be in the Whyte or Wilder fight.”
“If he waits until April or May, he could go straight into the Dillian Whyte fight; yesIf he fights in February, he may have a hot fight.”