Anthony Joshua is aiming to close out 2023 with a high-profile fight against Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.
On The DAZN Boxing Show (h/t TalkSport's Michael Benson), Hearn laid out a potential schedule for Joshua in 2023:
Michael Benson @MichaelBensonn
📋 Eddie Hearn has revealed Anthony Joshua's three-fight plan for 2023:<br><br>📆 April - Return vs Top 15 Opponent<br>📆 Summer - Likely Dillian Whyte II<br>📆 Autumn - Tyson Fury/Deontay Wilder<br><br>🗣️ Hearn said: "I truly believe Wilder/Fury is nailed on for 2023." [<a href="https://twitter.com/DAZNBoxing?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DAZNBoxing</a> Show]
"The plan now is to rebuild him to become a three-time heavyweight world champion," he said. "It's all very well being brave, listening to Twitter, going out and fighting Deontay Wilder [next]. But there has to be a plan, a smart plan."
Joshua is coming off back-to-back defeats by Oleksandr Usyk, and he has dropped three of his last five fights dating back to his shocking upset at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019. As a result, he sits fourth in ESPN's ranking of the top heavyweights.
Hearn is correct in that the 33-year-old will need to rediscover his groove in the ring before he's matched up with Wilder or Fury. Not to mention, he might be leaving some money on the table if he were to agree to a bout that big when his stock is lower than it has been in a while.
Hearn's strategy certainly makes sense in theory, but fans might be a bit wary about getting their hopes up by this point.
A superfight with Wilder or Fury has proved elusive for Joshua.
The British star seemed to have all of his ducks in a row with Fury in 2021, only for Wilder to intervene and win an arbitration case that guaranteed him another rematch against the unbeaten champion. It was the same story between Joshua and Wilder in 2018, and that ultimately came to nothing.
Until the contracts are signed and the preparations are underway, Joshua vs. Fury or Joshua vs. Wilder remain only hypotheticals.