Anthony Joshua will fight an undisclosed opponent on December 17 at Wembley Arena, London according to Eddie Hearn. AJ’s camp had initially pushed for this date when they started negotiations with Tyson Fury but were offered December 3 instead.
With the Fury fight dead in the water, Joshua will now weigh up his options as he looks to rebuild from back-to-back defeats to Oleksandr Usyk. Before the all-British showdown was placed on the table, Hearn had spoken about Joshua going on a world tour including fights in Beijing, Australia, the Middle East, America, and London.
It appears that the tour will be kicked off with the latter as Joshua returns to the English capital – where he has fought for the majority of his career.
“We’ll look at dates and venues, December 17 is a date that we like, the venue option isn’t great for December 17,” Hearn told iFL TV. “Wembley Arena, a great arena but just in terms of size I think it only holds 10,000 – 11,000 but AJ wants to get out, he’s been training hard.
“December 3 was never an ideal date, someone started playing that back to me, like playing me saying that last night going ‘oh look, look, it was never an ideal date’. I’ve said that a million times, we wanted December 17 they told us ‘No, the only way you’re going to get the fight is December 3’ and AJ said, ‘I’m willing to fight on that date’.
“So, it gives him a little more time because he’s still coming off a defeat over 12 rounds against the pound for pound number one. So, he’ll continue, and we’ll keep playing.”
MORE BOXING NEWS…
Joshua warned he’d lose to heavyweight ‘animal’ Joyce loves
Eubank Jr explains what he sees Nigel doing during Conor Benn fight
Fury labelled ‘same as Joshua’ in angry rant after ‘ducking’ fight
In terms of potential opponents, Hearn previously mentioned that they would be targeting a ‘credible top 15 opponent’. Zhang Zhilei was discussed as a ‘massive fight’ in Beijing while Otto Wallin has repeatedly pushed for a fight against the Watford powerhouse and fits the bill of a ‘credible top 15 opponent’ with rankings under the WBO, IBF, and WBC sanctioning bodies.
Another option is Martin Bakole who is placed within all four major sanctioning bodies’ top 15s and is willing to battle Joshua to find out who the ‘real king of Africa’ is. His coach, Billy Nelson, recently campaigned for the fight during an interview with Express Sport.
“This can be who’s the real king of Africa, that’s how they would try to sell it. The biggest fight in history was the Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire,” said Nelson. “Martin was born in Kananga and educated in Kinshasa and that’s where that fight was.
“I know for a fact that the Congolese government will back it one hundred per cent. I’ve been told by the government that they would back an Anthony Joshua fight in Congo.”