Anthony Joshua, the two-time heavyweight champion, has backtracked on his claim that he won’t fight again until December this year.
Instead, he has hinted at a potential return to the ring this summer.
Recall that Joshua had lost twice against Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk, leaving the door open for potential mega-fights with Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury or Joe Joyce.
Yet one week after beating Franklin, fans were left puzzled when Joshua revealed on social media that his next outing would not come for another eight months.
“Not ideal, but everything is part of a bigger picture,” Joshua wrote on Instagram.
That announcement was soon followed by astonishing reports which claimed Saudi Arabian officials are now planning a historic night of boxing which would see Joshua vs Wilder and Fury vs Usyk take place on the same card at the end of this year, with the winners of each bout then going on to lock horns in 2024.
However, Joshua has now suggested he could return to the ring in “July or August” if both he and his new coach Derrick James believe doing so is the right move.
“I thought as I have changed maybe three coaches in three years, it would be good to develop and work under the guidance of my new coach and by the time I am back in the ring, I have cemented and implemented everything he wants,” the British boxer told Sky Sports.
“But the only way we are going to put everything he is teaching me to the test is through fighting.
“So rather than putting pressure on myself, and I don’t want to lie to the fans at the time, I am fighting this date when there is still conversations, I just wanted to draw a line in the sand and say I am not fighting until this date.
“If I, my coach, decide to change my mind… I feel I am able to change my mind, right? So I am able to fight in July or August if I want, but right now, it is off the table, but we are subject to chance providing my coach is happy with what he sees.”