ANTHONY JOSHUA will not fight this year as Eddie Hearn revealed when the heavyweight will likely return.
The former unified champion faces a rebuilding job following consecutive losses to Ukrainian great Oleksandr Usyk.
AJ’s promoter Hearn had earmarked December 17 as a potential return date after talks to fight Tyson Fury two weeks earlier collapsed.
But now Joshua is expected to return in early 2023, to set up a busy year in the ring.
Recently, Swedish southpaw Otto Wallin, 31, and American veteran Chris Arreola, 41, emerged as potential options for AJ.
A rematch with Dillian Whyte, 34, who Joshua knocked out in 2015, is also on the cards for the summer.
Fury, 34, called out AJ after Usyk, 35, ruled himself out of a unification bout through injury.
But he instead fights Derek Chisora, 38, in an unpopular trilogy on December 3 following his prior one-sided wins in 2011 and 2014.
Fury now fears a super-fight with Joshua, 33, will NEVER happen, claiming his rival is too tough to negotiate with.
He said: “At least I’ve got this to show for all the time I wasted on that big dosser of a coward.
“The fight didn’t happen because they didn’t want it. After the first seven days of discussions they never had any intentions of it taking place.
“Joshua realised how daunting the task was and he got talked out of it by his people and himself.
“If that wasn’t the reason, he’d be here now instead of Derek. He doesn’t have any belts.
“He doesn’t have anything I need and there will not be a fight between him and me ever. Ever.
“There was just too much messing about. I’m not going through that all over again.
“They’re too hard to deal with. No more wasting time with idiots. I’m going to tell you what I told his promoter Eddie Hearn.
“That the difference between me and his man is that his man is a businessman and I’m an effing Spartan.”
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