Anthony Joshua will not make his return to the ring in 2022 and is instead set for a comeback very early next year, according to his promoter, Eddie Hearn.
Joshua and Hearn are plotting a route back to the top of the heavyweight division following a second straight defeat against Ukrainian champ Oleksandr Usyk in August.
The British-Nigerian first lost his unified titles to Usyk in September 2021, before failing to regain them despite making a more impressive attempt in the Saudi Arabia rematch 11 months later.
Just a few weeks after that shortcoming, Joshua was handed a shocking opportunity by domestic rival Tyson Fury, who offered him the chance to fight for his WBC championship in December in a projected all-British super-fight.
However, talks between the two camps broke down earlier this month, with Fury now set to take on Derek Chisora and Joshua still on the hunt for his next opponent.
That next opponent could be Deontay Wilder, who has expressed his desire to finally face the former unified champion following his brutal knockout of Robert Helenius last weekend.
Though while he is excited by the prospect of Joshua vs Wilder, Hearn insists his fighter will not be out again before the end of the year.
“Joshua against Deontay Wilder may be the biggest fight in boxing because someone is knocking somebody out in that fight,” he told Fight Hub TV.
“It’s one that you watch like that [with hands over eyes]. Joshua will be back very early next year, and I want to see him get active.”