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Frank Warren says Joe Joyce can fight Anthony Joshua next if Oleksandr is unavailable

Image: Frank Warren says Joe Joyce can fight Anthony Joshua next if Oleksandr is unavailable

By Barry Holbrook: Promoter Frank Warren says he likes the idea of Joe Joyce facing Anthony Joshua as the opponent for the former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion’s next fight if Oleksandr Usyk is unavailable.

Usyk is busy defending Ukraine against the Russian invasion of his country. There’s no telling when he can return to defend his IBF, WBA & WBO heavyweight titles against Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) in a rematch.

Last Saturday night, Joshua expressed approval of potentially fighting the unbeaten #2 WBO, #3 WBC ‘Juggernaut’ Joyce (13-0, 12 KOs) next.

Joshua will need to get back out in May or June to stay sharp, and it seems clear that Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) won’t return from Ukraine soon. He and Vasyl Lomachenko are two boxers from Ukraine who have joined their homeland’s defense to drive out the Russian invaders.

However, last Saturday, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said that he wouldn’t be looking at a top-three contender for AJ’s interim fight. At the same time, he waits for Usyk, which could effectively rule out the possibility of the highly ranked 6’6″ Joyce being his next opponent.

Joyce might be too good for Joshua right now, as he’s fighting on a high level, and he would take advantage of AJ’s chin and stamina issues.

The last thing Hearn wants to do is stick Joshua in with the steel-chinned slugger Joyce, who has excellent stamina and would push an impossible pace for him.

Warren is ready to make Joshua vs. Joyce

“That’s a good fight,” said Frank Warren to iFL TV about a match between Anthony Joshua and Joe Joyce. “I think the public would definitely buy into a fight between AJ and Joe Joyce.

Image: Frank Warren says Joe Joyce can fight Anthony Joshua next if Oleksandr is unavailable

“I think it’s a monster fight. That’s probably why I’m a promoter, and Dereck Chisora isn’t, and he’s an opponent,” said Warren in reacting to being told that Chisora is cool to the idea of Joshua fighting Joe Joyce next.

Joe Joyce, we’d make that in a heartbeat,” said Warren on Joshua needing an opponent soon. “Joe would fight him in a heartbeat. What a great domestic bust-up that is. Let’s get our heads together and get that done.

“I’d do that in a heartbeat, absolutely. Joe would do it. Yeah, that’s a fantastic fight. We’d work a deal out. How does that work? We’d sit around a table and work a deal out. I think it’s a brilliant fight.

“I like that; I really do like that. That would sell out Wembley.

“It’s sad what’s happened with Usyk; it’s terrible. He’s actually got a tougher fight on his hands than boxing at the moment where he’s at. It’s a dreadful thing that’s happening in his country.

“I’m sure there will be other fights taking place while he’s doing what he’s doing,” said Warren.

Hearn said last weekend that he’s going to need to know soon about Usyk’s situation regarding the rematch. The 32-year-old Joshua can’t afford to wait forever for Usyk to return from the Russian front in Ukraine.

Hearn didn’t mention wanting to apply pressure to have Usyk stripped of some of his titles so that Joshua can fight for them, but it’s predictable that he soon will be applying pressure on the IBF, WBA, or WBO to strip him.

Joshua needs the rematch with Usyk more than he does the world titles because his defeat against him last November did a lot to hurt his credibility.

If Usyk is stripped of his three belts, it won’t mean much if Joshua wins one of the straps against one of the contenders.

Given how badly Joshua was dominated by the smaller Usyk, he might be better off avoiding fighting for any of the heavyweight titles ever again unless he can get the rematch against Usyk.

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