Eddie Hearn targeting Joshua-Whyte For August

Eddie Hearn has confirmed that Anthony Joshua’s next fight date has been targeted with a venue and date pencilled in as the former two-time heavyweight world champion continues his rebuild from his back-to-back defeats against Oleksandr Usyk.

Joshua returned to action on April 1st against Jermaine Franklin under the tutelage of Derrick James for the first time, claiming a unanimous points verdict at the O2 Arena in London. However, the performance was not what was expected, with many industry figures stating that Joshua was lacklustre and should have been capable of securing a knockout victory against the American Franklin.

Hearn confirmed that Joshua hopes to return during the summer at the 02 Arena, with the venue already booked for August 12th Hearn as revealed. Speaking to Boxing Social, Hearn has confirmed that his priority target for Joshua’s August return is against former opponent and rival, Dillian Whyte, but has conceded that no deal with Whyte has been agreed upon at the time of publication.

“We have the O2 [Arena] held for that date, yes.”

“We want to make AJ vs DIllian Whyte, that is the fight that we want to make for August 12th. We still have to close that deal, and we are not there yet, at all. So, we have other opponents in mind, but we would like to fight Dillian Whyte.

We are also looking at stadiums for that fight, but we do have the O2 booked for August 12th.”

The long-standing rivals previously fought in 2015, contesting the vacant British heavyweight title as Joshua secured a stoppage victory in the seventh round.

The fight between the pair has long been talked up and speculated by Hearn and even more so following the back-to-back defeats for Joshua. Whyte himself is firmly back on the comeback trail following his knockout defeat to Tyson Fury in April of last year. Whyte himself returned in November last year against Franklin, labouring to a narrow majority decision win of which many had speculated that Franklin did more than enough to secure victory over the former WBC mandatory challenger.

However, Whyte fails to agree to terms with Joshua, it is expected that Joshua is set to return anyway regardless in August following discussions between Frank Warren, Matchroom and 258 Management who confirmed that Joshua had refused to face Tyson Fury for a proposed September date to be held at Wembley Stadium.