By George Sessions, PA
Anthony Joshua has confirmed work is under way over a “big fight” with Deontay Wilder for December, but has not ruled out a summer bout beforehand.
The former two-time world heavyweight champion returned to winning ways on April 1 with a points success over Jermaine Franklin at O2 Arena.
Joshua stated immediately after his target was a quick return to the ring in June or July but put up a post on Instagram earlier this month that suggested December would be his next fight.
📍@UnderArmour store, Battersea Power Station. 5.30pm – 8pm tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/GbNmBKcSJB
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyjoshua) April 19, 2023
Talk has rumbled on in the background regarding a clash with ex-WBC champion Wilder, who has told American media he would be up for finally taking on the Briton.
It was back in 2019 when an eagerly anticipated unification fight between the pair was mooted and it could finally be on the horizon with promoter Eddie Hearn set to visit Saudi Arabia next week to hold discussions.
“In December potentially there is a big fight that should be cracking with me and Wilder,” Joshua told an audience at the Under Armour store located inside Battersea Power Station.
“It has been a long time coming. There are a lot of moving shapes at the minute, there is a lot of things happening and moving shapes so one step at a time.
“But it has been a long time coming, for sure.”
Speculation has been rife that Joshua could face Wilder in Saudi Arabia in a blockbuster event where Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk would also do battle in a unification fight on the same evening.
Promoter Hearn said earlier on Thursday: “From our side Anthony Joshua is ready to sign to fight Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury, subject to contract, which has never been a problem for us in Saudi because we’ve always found a deal.
“It looks like – and I can’t tell you until I go – they want to do this huge night of Usyk against Fury and Joshua against Wilder.
“It sounds bizarre, it sounds mad, but it’s the kind of place where that could happen. We’re all in and we’ll go next week, look them in the eye and we’ll see where we get to.
“We’re up for it. I’m going out to Saudi next week to have those conversations, to start the process to see if it’s real or not. I know it’s real because I’ve dealt with those guys before.
“There’s four fighters they are going to have to sign, but we’re happy to fight Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia in December.”
Joshua recently returned from a holiday with his son and other members of his family in Dubai and insisted he would be happy to fight in the summer before a potential bout with Wilder in December.
The 33-year-old spoke at the launch of the first ever UA Next Academy in Battersea and took part in a question and answer session with an audience that lasted half an hour.
In between posing for pictures before and after his Q&A in the Under Armour store, the former Olympian explained how the alternative to a summer bout would be more time with new trainer Derrick James at his Dallas-based gym.
Joshua added: “I am happy to fight in July, no problem. There is an element of where it is, ‘work with your coach a bit longer,’ because I have changed coaches but I am down to fight. That’s what I do.
“If it was up to me, I am pushing for it and I am training to showcase I am ready.
“I am listening to the coaches and doing what they want me to do. It is that confidence in that we don’t need to wait and continue to train, but being off until December does not mean it is back to Dubai.
“It is definitely not off to Dubai, it would just be more time to train but July, June, let’s get cracking as well.”