By Keith Idec
The prevailing feeling within the boxing industry is that Eddie Hearn has every intention of scheduling an Anthony Joshua-Dillian Whyte rematch for April 13.
That’ll require Whyte to defeat Dereck Chisora in their own rematch December 22 at O2 Arena in London. Hearn has continued to state, though, that the opponent he and Joshua truly want next is Deontay Wilder.
Joshua’s nemesis seemingly is headed for an immediate rematch with another big Brit, Tyson Fury. That would be a mistake, according to Hearn, whose company promotes Joshua.
“If Wilder wants to be undisputed – he’s always gone on in his career about one face, one name, one king of the division,” Hearn told Sky Sports for a story posted to the British network’s website Tuesday. “The only way you can do that is to win the belts. Anthony Joshua has 75 percent of the belts, but we want that 25 percent. If [Wilder] does want to create a legacy, he’s got to fight Joshua. Then he can fight Fury.
“But he may go straight into the Fury fight. These next couple of weeks are going to be very interesting. It’s great times in the heavyweight division. Anything can happen.”
Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) owns the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist won the IBO, WBA and WBO belts only after Fury surrendered those titles in October 2016 to seek treatment for alcoholism, cocaine addiction and depression. The IBF previously stripped Fury of its title in December 2015 for failing to agree to make a mandatory defense in the fight after he upset Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015.
Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) has held the WBC championship for nearly four years. The Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native defended it for the eighth time December 1 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, where he and Fury fought to a controversial split draw.
Wilder and Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) have repeatedly expressed their desire for an immediate rematch over the past 10 days. If their second fight takes place at some point between April and June, Wilder, Fury, Joshua and possibly Whyte would be placed on similar schedules that would allow for a heavyweight title unification fight later in 2019.
Assuming Wilder and Fury fight next, an April 13 bout between Joshua and Whyte (24-1, 17 KOs) at least would be a lucrative domestic event at Wembley Stadium in London.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.