Hearn suggests Joshua’s next opponent will be Pulev
Joshua reclaimed the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO world heavyweight titles with a victory in his rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr on Saturday evening.
The 30-year-old insisted after his win in Saudi Arabia that he is open to a unification fight with Deontay Wilder. But Joshua is set to be tied to two mandatory defences with Pulev and Usyk in the frame.
And Hearn claims that Pulev, who is the IBF mandatory challenger, will be the first one to face Joshua before about against Usyk later in 2020.
‘He certainly doesn’t want to let [go of the titles] in the ring, or out of the ring,’ Hearn told ESPN.
‘The IBF seems to be the one that was certainly ordered first. But I’ll need to speak to Daryl Peoples [IBF], I’ll need to speak to ‘Paco’ [Francisco Valcarcel, head of the WBO].
‘[Joshua] certainly wants to make sure he can keep every belt. So that’s what we’ll be trying to do.’ Hearn also revealed that Usyk will likely face Dereck Chisora ‘in early March, and then he fights the winner of Joshua-Pulev.’
Meanwhile, Deontay Wilder admitted he is ‘upset’ with Andy Ruiz for failing to take his rematch with Anthony Joshua seriously.
Ruiz was comprehensively outboxed by Joshua on Saturday night and Wilder was furious to see his rival produce such a lacklustre display.
The WBC champion was rooting for Ruiz, who he shares an adviser with, and slammed the former unified champion for admitting he didn’t train hard enough for his second showdown with Joshua.
He told the Athletic: ‘People say I have no skills, but my intellect is high enough to know if I’d been in a situation like [Ruiz Jr] and something’s not working, you’ve got to change up my style.
‘I’m smart enough to know, cut the f***ing ring off.
‘Once you cut the ring off, you put Joshua in a corner and you can have your way with him by hitting him the way you did the first time.
‘To be in boxing that long and not know how to cut the ring off? If he knew, he didn’t do it, or he didn’t have the intellect. I’m a little upset with him.
‘Ruiz said he was doing great, not letting this moment get to him, but in the end, you hear him saying he ate too much and should’ve trained harder… Like, what the f***?
‘What do you mean you ate too much and could’ve trained harder?
‘I take this s*** seriously. I don’t know what their mentality is, but I didn’t become champion of the world just to say, “Put me in the record books”.
‘At least I can say I was a champion. They can never take that away from me.
‘F*** that s***. I’m here for legacy. Long live the king. That’s my mentality, and America should love a world champion like me.’
While Wilder was raging with Ruiz, he also ridiculed Joshua’s performance, which he felt lacked any entertainment factor.
Wilder feels Joshua is modelling himself on his mentor Wladimir Klitschko.
‘Joshua did what he had to do to get the win. He ran around the ring and was on his bike all day,’ Wilder said.
‘Basically, he had Klitschko in the camp and he was a lot like Klitschko: that jab-grab-hold method. That’s all he did tonight.
‘You want to dominate guys, man. Maybe I’m just too rough, too hardcore and too much of a dream for this time and era, maybe the world wants that nice shit… my mentality is so different from these other fighters.
‘But when I think of myself as a champion… you want to come out there and whoop his ass.
‘I’m not coming in, after losing to this guy, to just dance and grab and jab and hold.
‘I’m going to show the world and convince them I am the very best and that no one is close to me, especially with what’s going on in the division right now. It’s a time of proving who is the best.’
‘But he was so hesitant,’ he added. ‘Joshua’s mentality was to survive. The Klitschko method.’