Anthony Joshua remains on course for a summertime return.
The priority for his team is to revisit past business.
Promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed that an offer has been submitted to former title challenger Dillian Whyte for a proposed August 12 rematch with Joshua. Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing has the date reserved for the former two-time unified heavyweight titlist, who is also in talks to face former WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder in December.
"Our plan, which we've stressed, is for AJ to box on 12 August and in December again against Deontay," Hearn told BBC Sport, who was first to reveal the news. “The negotiations will be difficult but both AJ and Whyte want the fight."
Should Whyte eventually accept an offer, the bout would serve as a rematch to their December 2015 clash between unbeaten heavyweights won by Joshua via seventh-round stoppage at The O2 in London. Watford’s Joshua—a 2012 Olympic Gold medalist for Great Britain and rising contender at the time—won his first major title one fight later, a second-round knockout of unbeaten IBF heavyweight titlist Charles Martin in their April 2016 clash also at The O2.
Joshua (25-3, 22KOs) went on to make six successful defenses and emerge as the UK’s biggest draw before a June 2019 knockout defeat to Andy Ruiz. He regained the belts six months later but managed just one successful defense before back-to-back defeats to current unified WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk. Joshua returned to the win column with a twelve-round decision over Jermaine Franklin in April, which was his first fight with Derrick James, the 2022 Trainer of the Year.
Whyte (29-3, 19KOs) also beat Franklin in his most recent start last November 26 at AO Arena Wembley in London. The 36-year-old Brixton-based heavyweight earned a majority decision victory to bounce back from a sixth-round knockout to countryman and unbeaten lineal/WBC heavyweight king Tyson Fury (33-0-1, 24KOs) last April 23 in front of 94,000 at Wembley Stadium.
The loss to Fury marked the lone major title fight for Whyte (29-3, 19KOs), who previously held the interim WBC belt. Despite the loss to Joshua, Whyte emerged as a top heavyweight contender and for years served as the best heavyweight to never fight for a full title before he was able to enforce his mandatory shot versus Fury. Whyte is 13-2 since the loss to Joshua, who is 10-3 since their December 2015 clash.
While a rematch would also serve as a non-title fight, it is still a big fight on the domestic level.
"Dillian has a lot of value in the rematch. This is not an opponent for Joshua, but a big fight between two world-class heavyweights and huge British names.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox