Two-time unified heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua believes his proposed fight with Deontay Wilder could end up on the same card as the agreed undisputed heavyweight title showdown between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.
At the turn of 2023, there was speculation that a double heavyweight encounter featuring Fury-Usyk and Joshua-Wilder could occur in Saudi Arabia. However, that never amounted to anything but speculation.
However, reports from the British publication The Daily Star indicate that various figures within Saudi boxing remain interested in hosting Fury, Usyk, Joshua and Wilder on the same bill.
Joshua is set to return in December as the negotiations with a proposed bout with Deontay Wilder hit the buffers due to Saudi Arabian entity Skill Challenge Entertainment failing to secure deals with all parties involved and the financial elements to secure the fight. As recently as August, it was circulated within sources from Matchroom Boxing that a deal was agreed in principle.
No opponent or date has been confirmed for Joshua’s return in December. However, names include Agit Kabayel, Filip Hrgovic and Otto Wallin as potential opponents for December.
Joshua is hopeful that the contest between Fury-Usyk will feature himself and Wilder when speaking to Sky Sports, commenting that he believes it would be an unrealistic prospect to have Fury back in the ring before Christmas. It is currently speculated that Fury vs Usyk will take place on December 23 or the opening month of the year in 2024 in Saudi Arabia.
“They want to put Usyk vs Fury and Joshua vs Wilder on the same night. When Fury gets through Ngannou, it is going to be late October going into November, so I doubt he will prepare for Usyk and then fight in December. It is too short,” Joshua told Sky Sports.
“So, the next window will be in March or April and that is when the undisputed fight will happen. We are being told that they want to make it a mega-card.”
Joshua all but confirmed that he is set to return in December but conceded that it will not be against Wilder due to the ongoing difficulty in negotiations.
“It won’t be a championship fighter - which is Usyk and Fury. It won’t be none of them guys, and I am not too sure about the Wilder situation,” Joshua said.
“[Finalizing a deal for Wilder] feels like a land grab at the moment. Some fighters want to maximize their revenue. When I first started, you start, you build up your record, you fight and then you fight the big fights. But it is like, ‘where can we get the most money for the fight?’. And they want to go to Saudi Arabia, so they are waiting for the undisputed fight. For my career, I have got to stay busy. And in terms of an opponent for December, we have got to find the right opponent.”