ANTHONY JOSHUA could return straight into a super-fight with Deontay Wilder next year.
The British heavyweight superstar is taking time out to recover mentally after consecutive defeats to Oleksandr Usyk.
Before the rematch in August, his promoter Eddie Hearn sent Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel an invitation to hold talks.
Only now has Finkel responded, leaving the door open to AJ returning against Wilder or Dillian Whyte next year.
Hearn told DAZN: “I actually sent Shelly Finkel an email back in August to talk about a deal and he actually replied to me yesterday.Â
“I invited them out here to Abu Dhabi this week, they canât come, but I see the Deontay Wilder fight probably being the second fight for Anthony Joshua in all honesty, but heâs up for fighting anyone.
“If he waits, he may go straight into that fight, it all depends on when he returns, if he returns early in the year, heâll fight someone else first and if not heâll go straight into the Whyte or Wilder fight.”
Wilder, 37, knocked out Robert Helenius, 38, in the first round of his comeback bout in October.
Meanwhile, Joshua, 33, was forced to shelve his proposed return in December to take a break from the sport.
Should AJ fight early in 2023, he could do so against lower-level opposition, but waiting a few more months could see him rematch Whyte, 34.
Hearn said: “I think it all depends on when AJ fights.
“If he waits until April or May, he may go straight into the Dillian Whyte fight, if he fights in February, he may have a warm-up fight first.
“Heâs coming to Abu Dhabi this week; we are sitting down with him to plan the next step and weâre on the verge of mapping that out.”
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