Anthony Joshua apparently will remain a two-fight-per-year prizefighter.
The former heavyweight champion from London seemed poised to break out of his long cycle of fighting twice a year this year, but that won’t be the case, according to a post Joshua made on his social media.
And apparently Joshua himself is not exactly happy with the decision.
“My next fight is scheduled for December,” Joshua posted on his Instagram story on Sunday. “Not ideal but everything is part of a bigger picture.”
Joshua is coming off a dominant if not exactly impressive points victory over Michigan’s Jermaine Franklin earlier this month at O2 Arena in London. His first fight since his two consecutive losses to unified champion Oleksandr Usyk, Joshua—or at least his handlers—has hinted that he could be back in the ring by the summer, possibly against the likes of Joe Joyce, Otto Wallin, or Dillian Whyte, in an effort to gain more experience under the wing of new trainer Derrick James.
Since Joshua’s loss to Usyk last year in their rematch in Saudi Arabia, his promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom, has insisted that the priority would be to “rebuild” Joshua through volume and has repeatedly stressed that his wish for his star charge is to fight three times in 2023.
Most recently, in the wake of Joshua’s win over Franklin, Hearn said Joshua was raring to get back in the ring in 12 weeks. Hearn said Joshua would need to fight in July or August in order to be able to get a third fight in before the end of the year.
“I would like to see [Joshua] have a little rest then get straight back to Texas with Derrick and try and have an end of summer fight and then try and fight in December. It would be great for his career,” Hearn told Boxing Social.
Now it appears Joshua will not fight for another eight months.
After the Franklin win, there was much chatter in the boxing world about whether or not Joshua needed another tune-up fight or two before proceeding with a major showdown against the likes of former titlist Deontay Wilder or WBC champion Tyson Fury.
It is not clear if Joshua would engage in another fight against a fighter of Franklin’s caliber for December or if he would zero-in on a fight with Fury or Wilder at that time.