Anthony Joshua is “very likely” to scrap his world heavyweight title defence scheduled to take place at Wembley Stadium on April 13, promoter Eddie Hearn has said.
WBA-WBO-IBF-IBO champion Joshua was due to step into the ring for the second bout in a two-fight deal at England’s national stadium this spring, but Hearn told IFL TV that his team is continuing to explore their options.
Joshua’s next opponent is still to be confirmed, but British compatriot Dillian Whyte and American Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller have both been touted as options.
“The main thing is it looks like April 13 is unlikely,” Hearn said. “I think Dillian feels like for a fight, like that he would want a little bit more time. If we do the Dillian Whyte fight, I think we would move it to May or June anyway.
“But again, the Jarrell Miller fight is very close for June in Madison Square Garden. Nothing is imminent, but we’re moving forward. I think we are going to be in a position by the end of this weekend to know what we’re doing, I think.”
Hearn confirmed another fight with Whyte later in the spring or early summer would have to take place away from Wembley, but if Joshua opted to fight Miller in New York, Whyte could take his place at the top of the bill of the April date against another opponent.
Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) defeated Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs) in December 2015, but Jamaican-born Whyte has fought his way back into contention among the heavyweights.
Whyte told the Daily Telegraph, however, that he felt Joshua was avoiding a fight with him.
“They’ve had the [Wembley] date booked for ages and have known AJ was available since he beat Alexander Povetkin on Sept. 22, yet didn’t even make an initial offer,” Whyte said.
“We could have made this fight if Joshua really wanted it, but it has been clear to me all along that they’ve been focused on making the Jarrell Miller fight in New York City on [subscription streaming service] DAZN.”
Hearn’s attempts to set up a unification fight with WBC champion Deontay Wilder have so far failed, with contact between the fighters’ representatives seemingly over.
The promoter told IFL TV he is still in contact with Tyson Fury about a potential fight but cannot agree on a purse split: Fury is asking for 50/50, while Hearn is resolute in offering a 60/40 split in champion Joshua’s favour.
Last week, Joshua admitted he would “love” to fight Fury, but the Manchester fighter is more likely to agree to a rematch with Wilder.
The pair fought to a dramatic draw in Los Angeles in December, and the WBC has approved an immediate rematch.
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