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Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua wants a “REAL fight” for interim bout

Image: Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua wants a "REAL fight" for interim bout

By Jim Calfa: Promoter Eddie Hearn says he’s a little apprehensive about the type of opponent Anthony Joshua will be fighting for his interim bout while waiting for IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk to return from the war front in Ukraine.

It sounds like Joshua is begging to be knocked out again with the dangerous guys on his wish list for his interim fight.

Hearn admits that he and Joshua have very different perceptions on what a suitable interim opponent should be. Joshua will be fighting in May or June to stay busy while waiting for Usyk, according to Hearn, to

Hearn says he wants an opponent that is a “straightforward procedure,” whereas Joshua is looking for a “REAL fight” aiming towards dangerous killers like Deontay Wilder, Joe Joyce, and Luis Ortiz.

What Hearn means by wanting a “straightforward procedure” for Joshua can be interpreted to mean that he prefers a gimme for AJ to face for his interim fight rather than a live dog.

Hearn says that Joshua shut him down when he offered him opponents for his interim fight, choosing instead to go with his wish-list of dangerous heavyweights, with former WBC champion Deontay at the top.

Hearn uncomfortable with Joshua’s choices

“I like Joseph [Parker], he’s a great friend of mine, but I don’t know that’s the fight we’d look for in the interim,” said Eddie Hearn to Behind The Gloves in showing no interest in using Joseph Parker for Anthony Joshua’s interim fight.

Image: Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua wants a "REAL fight" for interim bout

“My kind of feeling for an interim fight is very different to AJ’s feeling because of the names he’s talking about,” Hearn continued. “An interim fight for when you’re waiting for [Oleksandr] Usyk should really be a straightforward procedure.

“But when AJ’s talking about Wilder, who is a name that he wants me to look into, [Otto] Wallin, [Luis] Ortiz, Joe Joyce, all these kinds of names, even Joseph Parker, these are serious fights.

“So, you’ve got to be careful because the aim is to regain the world heavyweight titles, and to do that, he has to fight Oleksandr Usyk,” said Hearn in making it known that he’s not particularly eager to match Joshua against the dangerous foes on his wish-list.

Joshua is like an uncontrollable person at this point in his career, seemingly taking over the selection process for his fights, putting Hearn in a challenging position where he can either disagree with him or bend to his wishes.

The problem with Hearn giving in and letting the impulsive Joshua fight whoever he wants is obvious. Joshua cannot beat the fighters on his wish list with 100% certainty, and the last thing Hearn wants is for AJ’s career to be finished after his next fight.

Suppose Joshua is going to lose to anyone. In that case, it needs to be Usyk or Tyson Fury because the money from those fights will be huge, and there will be minor criticism from boxing fans in AJ taking a defeat against those talents.

Joshua losing to Joyce, Wilder, Ortiz, or Wallin would be a signal that his career is done.

Eddie told Usyk’s promoter about interim fight plans

“I reached out to Alex Krassyuk today, and that was kind of like the first time that I reached out,” Hearn said about him speaking to Usyk’s promoter Krassyuk to check on when they’ll be able to face Joshua in the rematch.

“It’s a very emotional time, and they don’t want to be talking about a fight. They’re worried about their families [in Ukraine]. At the same time, I said to him, ‘I need to make a move for AJ’s career.

“‘We’re fighting Usyk; that’s all we want to do. If you don’t fight by then, we’re out.’ He [Joshua] wants that fight. But if Usyk is not ready for September, October or November, we would like to fight by the end of May or early June.

“If we do that, we’ll look at the names that I mentioned there, and we’ll pick a suitable opponent. It’ll be a lot more difficult fight than I would like, quite frankly, but that’s AJ all over,” Hearn said.

Joshua rejected Hearn’s choices for an opponent

“He’s firing on all cylinders, he’s full of confidence at the moment, his back is against the wall a little bit,” said Hearn about Joshua. “He’s like, ‘No, I want a REAL fight.’ I mentioned some other names, and I don’t want to say who they are, and he was like, ‘F*** fighting them.’

“He never gets the credit that he should for taking on these guys. I don’t know. It kind of feels like at the moment that there will be an interim fight, but until Usyk’s team is comfortable and everybody is comfortable with the plan, we’ll wait and see.

“But we will start making moves for venues, for dates, and for opponents if that is [the case],” said a dour-sounding Hearn.

Poor Hearn. I can see what he’s up against with Joshua lacking impulse control when selecting an opponent for his interim fight. Hearn is trying to save Joshua’s career, but he’s not letting him do his job.

If Joshua had a better chin and stamina, it wouldn’t be a big deal for him to fight the guys on his list for his interim fight. Unfortunately, Joshua’s energy is terrible, and his punch resistance is nowhere near where it needs to be for him to fight guys like Wilder, Joyce, and Luis Ortiz in a stay-busy type of contest.

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