Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed that if his client, wins his December 23 bout, the Nigerian-born British boxer will face American boxer Deontay Wilder in his first fight of 2024.
On December 23 this year, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua will be involved in separate fights on the same card in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Joshua will take on Otto Wallin and Wilder will take on Joseph Parker on the same night, two days before the forthcoming Christmas.
Amidst that, the head of Matchroom Sport Hearn had earlier suggested that Joshua considered the possibility of fighting highly regarded Croatian fighter Filip Hrgovic for the vacant IBF title.
Note that Oleksandr Usyk who is the current unified champion, WBA and WBO, will challenge WBC champion Tyson Fury for all three titles on February 17 in Riyadh.
Therefore, Hearn thinks that mandatory demands from sanctioning bodies—the IBF specifically—will probably result in the belts being split up again if an undefeated champion is crowned.
In that case, it might be better for Joshua to challenge Hrgovic for the IBF title, as the 34-year-old Nigerian-born British heavyweight boxer is eligible to challenge for the heavyweight title.
However, Hearn believes there wouldn’t be any other options than Joshua and Wilder to face off in 2024, especially if they win their separate bouts on December 23, because Joshua vs. Wilder would have too much momentum at that point.
“It’s very likely that after Fury vs Usyk 1, the belts will fragment, particularly the IBF. If that fragments and Joshua beats Wallin on Dec. 23rd, it would be Hrgovic against Joshua. But by then it’s very likely that Joshua vs Wilder could be contracted and probably will be contracted,” Hearn told Boxing Social.
“We won’t be able to U-turn at that point. We’re full steam ahead trying to make the Wilder fight. WBC final eliminator? If that’s what it’s called. I would just call it the biggest fight in boxing at that point. When that fight happens the only way that fight happens is if they both win on December 23rd on the same card. And if they do win on the same card, on the same night, that fight is the biggest in boxing.”