Anthony Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn has admitted a defeat on his return to action would spell the end of his career.
Joshua is due to travel to the United States to link up with his new team, which is yet to be announced, as he prepares to return to the ring in April.
Hearn told iFL TV that the opponent is yet to be finalised but the fight is expected to take place on April 1 at the O2 Arena in London. Australian heavyweight Demsey McKean has been linked as a potential option for the contest.
Joshua will be aiming to bounce back after suffering back-to-back defeats to Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk, with Hearn admitting a third loss would likely end his career. But he expressed confidence success could be part of his journey to becoming a three-time heavyweight world champion.
‘This is the most excited I’ve been on Anthony Joshua’s journey so far because I think it’s exciting,’ Hearn said.
‘You go into that fight in April – you know that with defeat, it’s all over, really. It would be a third back-to-back defeat.
‘And yet a great performance and a showreel knockout gets everyone saying, ‘We’re back, we’re back baby.’
‘That’s what I can’t wait for, because I love it when our backs are against the wall. That’s the best moments and this is one of those moments for AJ.’
A potential rematch against Joshua’s old rival Dillian Whyte has been viewed as the likeliest option in the summer.
‘AJ wants a big fight in the summer,’ Hearn said. ‘The one that would make sense and the one that should be hopefully quite straightforward to make is the rematch with Dillian.
‘We’re open to a Deontay Wilder fight, we’re open to a Tyson Fury fight, we are open to every fight in the summer.
‘In my mind, with AJ fighting in April and probably Dillian probably fighting around the same time, that would lead them to a big all-British heavyweight fight in the summer.
‘It doesn’t mean its done, we would have to agree terms, but that’s what I’d like to do.
‘AJ wants to be in the biggest fights possible and if a bigger fight rears its head – there’s only two bigger fights in the division than Dillian Whyte, that’s Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.
‘If they appear somehow, 100 per cent we will look at those as well, but the key is April 1.’