Eddie Hearn, promoter for IBF, WBA, WBO heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua, expects his boxer to stay very busy with mandatory orders – unless a deal is struck for a full division unification with WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
The first order of business is a voluntary defense against undefeated Jarrell Miller on June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
If necessary, Hearn says his boxer is willing to vacate one of his titles to secure the unification bout with Wilder.
Hearn would like a Wilder vs. Joshua bout to take place at the end of the year.
Wilder faces WBC mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale on May 18th at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“We don’t want to vacate one of the titles because we want the undisputed fight,” Hearn told IFL TV.
“I mean, don’t get me wrong, if a title was vacated, we’d still fight Wilder – but it wouldn’t be the undisputed fight. That’s the golden chalice. So that’s why we want it to happen in November, December.”
In terms of mandatory defenses, the WBO will come against Oleksandr Usyk, the IBF has Kubrat Pulev, and then the WBA mandatory will get designated at some point.
“WBO with Usyk, IBF with Pulev is after the WBO mandatory, and then there would be a WBA mandatory, which is not set yet. So [Joshua] is going to have a logjam of mandatories. So, after Miller, he’s either going to fight Wilder or another fight or, more likely, Usyk,” Hearn said.
“AJ’s fight with Wilder may not be a unification bout if it doesn’t happen this year. If he fights the undisputed fight then he’s got to fight Usyk after. Then he’s got to fight Pulev as another mandatory after that. And then he’s got to fight the WBA one. So that’s when you get into the realms of, are we vacating a belt here? [Wladimir] Klitschko never vacated a belt, but he got criticized because of the mandatories that were put in front of him – was it Tony Thompson he fought twice?”