Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua looks on ahead of their World Heavyweight Championship fight against Oleksandr Usyk during the Rage on the Red Sea Heavyweight Title Fight at King Abdullah Sports City Arena on August 20, 2022 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Francois Nel/Getty Images


  • Anthony Joshua's return to the ring could still happen later in the year
  • Eddie Hearn bares that he has two opponents in mind for Joshua
  • Joshua currently has no obligations and is free to choose his next fight

Anthony Joshua suffered a second^straight defeat to Oleksandr Usyk in his last outing, and his promoter Eddie Hearn is adamant that boxing fans will see him back in the ring by December.

In a conversation with the Daily Mail, Hearn laid out the plans they have in mind for Joshua.

"We're all gunning for a December return It's not confirmed, but that's where everyone's minds are at. We're not booking a venue, but the conversations - as recently as yesterday – were December for his return. I don't want to start mentioning names, but it's a top 15 fight," Hearn mentioned.

"It will be someone credible, who AJ (Anthony Joshua) can come back, express himself against and build on what he's learning in camp. He can then build himself back up to fighting for a heavyweight title again."

Hearn's last comments make a ton of sense for the British heavyweight after his two-fight showing against Usyk.

Joshua was thoroughly outclassed by Usyk in their rematch, but he put up a much better fight than the first meeting as he was close to potentially knocking out the Ukrainian in the ninth round.

Usyk bounced back in a big way though in the championship rounds, stifling Joshua's offense and landing big shots of his own to solidify the victory.

Following the split decision victory in favor of Usyk, Joshua took control of the mic to address the fans about his journey in boxing thus far while giving Usyk his props.

Fans were turned off by this gesture from him as they believed that it took the shine away from Usyk's victory. Joshua later noted that it was his emotions getting the best of him.

As for who Joshua will face next, Hearn mentioned that he could face amateur rival and Chinese Olympian Zhang Zhilei or Dillian Whyte down the road.

"A lot of people think he (Zhilei) beat Filip Hrgovic and that's a big fight in China, but I just feel that the next fight should be in the UK... We're talking to Dillian (Whyte) about his next fight in November, other people are making offers, but I see that fight in the spring or summer of 2023 in a stadium," Hearn attested.

A silver lining in him losing the titles is that he no longer has mandatory title fights and is completely free to choose who he wants next, with Hearn mentioning that they want to go on an "AJ world tour" with stops in London, Las Vegas, Beijing, Middle East and Australia.

Joshua currently has free reign and his fans around the world eagerly await the next step in his storied boxing career.

Eddie Hearn
Eddie Hearn, Boxing Promoter and Chairman of Matchroom Sport looks on during the Rage on the Red Sea Heavyweight Title Fight at King Abdullah Sports City Arena on August 20, 2022 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Francois Nel/Getty Images