Hearn spoke to BoxingScene.com's Declan Taylor to discuss Joshua's fight against Carlos Takam on October 28 and touched on the highly anticipated unification bout with Wilder. The promoter envisioned a summer bout, giving both fighters the opportunity to get in the ring once more before meeting each other:
"I think the Wilder fight is one for next summer. I'd like [Wilder] to fight Dillian Whyte. I mean, I've talked to [Wilder's] guys again today—and the winner fights Josh. [WBO champion Joseph] Parker is a fight we could look at in February or March. But you know we've got a WBA mandatory, potentially...I don't know.
"But I think the main aim is to fight three times next year, and I'd like two of those [fights] to be for additional belts. It doesn't always work out like that, but the aim is to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world."
Joshua was supposed to defend his titles against Kubrat Pulev, but the 36-year-old Bulgarian dropped out due to injury. Pulev was the IBF's mandatory opponent for Joshua.
Wilder will fight on November 4, and he too had to find a replacement after Cuban veteran Luis Ortiz failed a drugs test. He'll instead take on Bermane Stiverne, who he already beat in 2015.
The Bronze Bomber and AJ are both expected to cruise to wins, setting up a massive year for the heavyweight division. New Zealand's Joseph Parker will be looking for a big name after beating Hughie Fury to retain his WBO title, and Whyte is unbeaten since his loss against longtime rival Joshua in 2015.
Most of the attention has gone to the unification bout between Joshua and Wilder so far, with both fighters exchanging plenty of fighting words. Dominic Breazeale―who lost to Joshua in 2016―recently gave his opinion on the bout, per Boxing Kingdom:
But both Parker and Whyte would present tricky opponents in potential warm-up bout, and both would add some intriguing storylines. The latter gave Joshua a scare in their previous meeting and has long been AJ's biggest rival―he could introduce casual British fans to Wilder and set up a big-money rematch with Joshua if he upset the Bronze Bomber.
Parker has long been regarded as a big prospect in the heavyweight division. The 25-year-old has quick hands for such a big man, as well as the attacking output to trouble most fighters. He showed signs of weakness in his decision win over Fury but continues to improve with every passing fight.
Ortiz and Pulev will also be factors in the heavyweight division in 2018, while it remains to be seen whether Alexander Povetkin can land a big fight following his WBC suspension earlier this year, per BBC Sport.