Anthony Joshua set for Dec return

Following back-to-back defeats to Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua is set for a competitive return in December, as he starts the long road back to a world title chance.

Consecutive defeats to world champion Usyk have left the British-Nigerian heavyweight needing to rebuild his world championship credentials.

Promoter Eddie Hearn has laid down a plan for Joshua’s return to the top, including a UK fight in December and another bout against Dillian Whyte next year.

Joshua is now keen for a rematch against Whyte since he knocked the Brit out in 2015. Tyson Fury also knocked out Whyte in his last fight back in April.

Former world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder also wants to fight Joshua, but promoter Hearn said the British fighter will face a lower ranked opponent first.

“We’re all gunning for a December return,” Hearn told the Daily Mail. “It’s not confirmed, but that’s where everyone’s minds are at. We’re not booking a venue, but the conversations – as recently as yesterday – was December for his return. I don’t want to start mentioning names, but it’s a top 15 fight.

“It will be someone credible, who Joshua can come back, express himself against and build on what he’s learning in camp. He can then build himself back up to fighting for a heavyweight title again.”

The O2 Arena in London has been a favourable area for Joshua with the two-time heavyweight champion winning all of his seven fights at the venue and Hearn has hinted that the British heavyweight might return to the familiar location.

“I’d like to bring him home,’ Hearn added. “Look, there’s the Zhang (Zhilei) fight. A lot of people think he beat Filip Hrgovic and that’s a big fight in China, but I just feel that the next fight should be in the UK. It will be at the O2 or Manchester Arena, we won’t do a stadium fight.”

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