Barry Hearn wants Anthony Joshua to take 3 warm-up fights in 2023 before Tyson Fury clash

By Boxing News - 04/02/2023 - Comments

By Jake Tiernan: Barry Hearn of Matchroom wants Anthony Joshua to take “two or three” warm-up fights to keep learning & improving this year before he faces Tyson Fury for the “big payday.

Barry says the decision is up to Joshua (25-3, 22 KOs) whether to take a few more learning fights or go for the big money clash against WBC heavyweight champion Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs).

If Joshua chooses to take the warm-up fights, as he advises, Barry wants those to take place this year rather than stretched out into 2024.

Assuming Joshua takes the slower approach before facing Fury by following Barry’s plan, the likely next opponent for AJ is Dillian Whyte, as he’s not a threat to him, and there’s decent money to be made from the British market.

Matchroom Boxing boss Eddie Hearn won’t be able to peddle the Joshua vs. Whyte rematch on DAZN PPV in the U.S, but he could get away with selling it to the British fans, and it would make decent coin for both fighters, including the promoters.

It’s hard to know what Joshua would learn from fighting the shot to pieces 34-year-old Whyte, as that old is completely over-the-hill at this point in his career and is more of a bottom-feeder-level contender than a top 10 guy.

The only positive that would come from Joshua fighting a shot fighter like Whyte would be the extra time he has to work with new coach Derrick James with another training camp, and he can trim down for that contest to lose the useless muscle he packed on for the Franklin bout.

Does Joshua take the “big payday” next?

“Yeah, good work workmanlike performance. I think we were all looking for more of an explosive ending. There’s no question that he won the fight,” said Barry Hearn to iFL TV about the performance from Anthony Joshua with his win over Jermaine Franklin last Saturday night. “He’s been out for a long time. You can make a lot of excuses, but it was a step in the right direction, but it was a step in a long journey.

“He’s got the appetite, which I’m sure he is, and he’s going to put more work in, which I’m sure he will, and he’s got to improve again,” Barry Hearn continued about Joshua.

“I think Tyson Fury would look at that performance and say, ‘I’m ready to fight him,’ number one. That takes a big obstacle away. He [Joshua] has to decide whether he wants to go for the big payday or build and learn for longer, in which case he needs two or three more warm-up fights.

“The public don’t like that. They’re crying out for it [Fury vs. Joshua]. Is it time to take the money? It may be. That’s not a decision for me. Definitely,” said Barry when asked if it were up to him would want Joshua to take two or three warm-up fights before facing Fury for the big payday.

“But at the same time, they wouldn’t. Realistically, we live in a commercial world; we all know that, and the money that would be earned from two warm-up fights or even three warm-up fights quickly because I would want to see something every two or three months somewhere.

“It would be like the old days where you started to campaign. Go to Manchester, go to Glasgow, go to Dubin, you know? Then come back and have the big one, but in today’s world, the temptations. I know there’s a lot of Saudis.

“The temptations of taking that fight and earning a colossal amount of money may outweigh the old fashion commonsense of people like me.

“I think AJ just tapped him on the back of the head. It was glorified handbags. It got quite a bit of action towards the end of the fight,” said Barry about the scuffle at the end of the fight after Joshua tapped Franklin to the back of fight in what appeared to be a friendly gesture that he misinterpreted, thinking that AJ was getting an extra punch in.

YouTube video