Eddie Hearn denies Anthony Joshua will retire if he loses Usyk rematch on Aug.20th
By Adam Baskin: Promoter Eddie Hearn denies the rumors that Anthony Joshua is planning on retiring if he loses his rematch with unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk on August 2oth.
Hearn insists the 32-year-old former IBF/WBA/WBO champion Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) WON’T retire and will continue battling for a “long time.”
Of course, with Joshua signing a massive five-year, $100 million+ deal with DAZN, it doesn’t make sense for him to hang up his gloves if he loses to the unbeaten Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) again.
With that kind of money, it’s worth it for Joshua to hang in there for another five years to finish his contract with DAZN.
If Joshua continues to lose at the clip he’s been doing since 2019, he can view himself as a prizefighter like Derek Chisora, focusing on money rather than winning world titles.
“No, I would be shocked,” said Eddie Hearn to Intu Boxing when asked if Anthony Joshua would retire if he loses the rematch with Oleksandr Usyk.
“AJ loves fighting; boxing is everything to him. When he lost to Usyk, the amount of people in the industry messaged me, saying, ‘I think he should retire now.’ I said, ‘He just lost to the pound-for-pound #1 or #2. He’s not had that many fights.’
“He loves the sport, and I’m sure he’ll be around for a long time, but obviously we’d much rather win,” said Hearn.
Joshua’s popularity will begin to erode if he loses the rematch with Usyk next month, as fighters can’t keep fans from jumping ship, losing interest when they keep getting beaten as AJ has.
It will be challenging for Hearn and DAZN if Joshua continues to lose after his fight with Usyk.
A certain number of fans will stick with Joshua as he continues to slide downward, but as we saw with Evander Holyfield, AJ’s popularity to decrease sharply unless something drastic is done in terms of matching him against lesser opposition.
So while Joshua may choose not to retire if he loses to Usyk again, his career could sink from that point on.
If you’re DAZN, you might wish that Joshua retired because then you’d be off the hook for the vast contract you’ve given the struggling heavyweight.
It’ll be interesting to see who Hearn can match Joshua to stop his descent.
Hearn can’t begin matching Joshua against fighters like Derek Chisora and other ham & eggers like him without taking massive criticism from boxing fans. It would make it evident that he’s finished as an elite-level fighter.
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