Boxing promoter, Eddie Hearn has insisted Anthony Joshua will fight on despite his second consecutive loss to Oleksandr Usyk.
The British heavyweight fought much better in the rematch than he did against Usyk last September in London, but ultimately slumped to a split decision defeat against the WBA, IBF, and WBO champion on Saturday night in Saudi Arabia.
Ahead of the fight, former WBO cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson suggested Joshua could retire from the sport if he lost again, annoying the Matchroom Chairman with his comments.
And after the fight, he insisted Joshua will fight on despite falling short in Jeddah.
“People talked in the build-up about him retiring,” Hearn told talkSPORT.
“When you lose a split decision to the pound-for-pound number one, why would you contemplate retirement? It’s about passion. It’s about if you still want it. You could see how much he wanted it by his post-fight interview.”
The 43-year-old even suggested that his star client could return to the ring later this year against former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder or long-time rival Dillian Whyte.
“I’d like to see him back out. Maybe even in late December,” Hearn added.
“There’s massive fights for him. Dillian Whyte, Deontay Wilder.
“There’s so many fights for him in the top . There’s even some Brits for him that are coming through in a couple of fights as well.”
“We’ve just got to see what he wants to do. It’s going to be a tough, tough defeat to take but he’ll be back.”
In the immediate aftermath of Usyk vs Joshua 2, ‘The Bronze Bomber’ took to social media to claim Hearn and co. had already been in touch about a potential fight with AJ.
“They tried to lock me in for insurance because they knew he wasn’t going to Win. This is strictly a business, Not a sport there’s a different,” Wilder tweeted.
It seems unlikely Joshua and Wilder will fight this year as the American is already booked to face Robert Helenius on Saturday, October 15, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York City.
However, a fight with Whyte could easily be made since they share the same promoter, are both coming off losses, and are not currently linked to any other opponents.