Joshua and Whyte could go to war again in January or February (Picture: Getty)
Eddie Hearn has revealed Dillian Whyte is the ‘front runner’ to face Anthony Joshua when the former heavyweight champion returns to the ring in January or February.
Joshua and Whyte shared a blistering rivalry in 2015, culminating in a seventh-round knockout win for the former at the end of that year which catapulted him into the world title picture.
After a bruising second defeat to Oleksandr Usyk in August, talks for Joshua to fight Tyson Fury on 3 December spectacularly fell through with a slated return on 17 December now pushed back to early 2023.
Whyte himself returns from his knockout defeat to Fury on 26 November, taking on undefeated American Jermaine Franklin. But should he come through that test, a meeting with Joshua could be on the horizon.
Hearn revealed last year both Joshua and Whyte were eager for a second meeting, telling Metro.co.uk in September it could sell out a UK stadium this summer.
But speaking to the DAZN Boxing Show, Hearn says Joshua vs Whyte II could kickstart a huge 2023 for boxing in the New Year with the Deontay Wilder fight to be explored later down the line.
‘Originally the plan was December if that Tyson Fury fight could be made,’ Hearn said of Joshua’s return. Now it hasn’t and it has dragged on.
Joshua left Whyte on the canvas seven years ago (Picture: Getty)
‘So now probably January or February is where we are looking at.
‘In terms of names, I was talking to him the other day, he wants to fight Dillian Whyte. Whyte fights November 29 against Franklin who is talking a tremendous game so we have to see how that pans out.
‘But I think Dillian Whyte is probably the front runner if he comes through. Otto Wallin is a guy who has reached out a number of times, I think that is a good fight for him too.
‘And then there is the Wilder situation, I’m not saying that is going to be a fight for January or February but it is a fight he is definitely looking at.
‘The feeling from AJ is, the value of a tune up fight… sometimes they are always as dangerous as each other.
‘I don’t think he wants to start dropping out of the top 10 and top 15 of the governing bodies and just looking for an easy touch, I think he wants a real fight and those are real fights you can see him in.’
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Joshua’s return has been pushed back to early 2023.