Eddie Hearn has vowed that a long-awaited fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury will still happen despite Joshua being defeated by Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday night. Usyk stunned the boxing world to claim a points victory against the heavy favourite at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Joshua was reportedly set to go head-to-head with Fury in two fights next year after his clash with Usyk.
But those encounters have now been thrown into jeopardy after Joshua lost his WBA, WBO and IBF belts.
The Briton struggled throughout the bout with Usyk and failed to impose his physical dominance against the Ukrainian.
The 31-year-old was outthought and outmanoeuvred as the challenger stamped his authority on the contest.
Joshua had got himself back into the affair by the midway point after a slow start but tired in the later rounds and was eventually deemed to have lost by the judges.
READ MORE: Anthony Joshua loses unanimous decision to Oleksandr Usyk
“By the way, AJ-Fury will happen – unquestionably,” Hearn told iFL TV’s Youtube channel.
“I still hope Fury wins in a couple of weeks. Right now the focus is on Oleksandr Usyk – it has to be.
“He [Joshua] wants to fight for another four or five years but he’ll want to win his belts back – he’s a proud champion.”
Joshua will now prepare for a rematch with Usyk, with Hearn stating that the second bout is likely to take place in February or March next year.
And Joshua’s promoter has admitted the fighter is already focused on avenging Saturday’s defeat.
He added: “At the moment he is just pumped for the rematch – he just needs to calm down. He needs a holiday, he needs to rest, recover – just take some time.
“All he can think about is a rematch, which will be good for him in time. But just for now, switch off – rest your body.
“It was a taxing fight. It wasn’t the power of Oleksandr Usyk but it was the pressure and it was the work-rate. It got to the 12th and AJ was knackered.
“Inactivity has not been great for AJ – that was his second fight in 20 months.
“He started quite poorly and quite slowly. He came on great in the mid rounds and then wasn’t good enough in the championship rounds – Usyk was masterful.”
If Joshua is to match-up against Fury, he faces the prospect of doing so without any belts on the line unless he can wrestle them back from the Ukrainian.
“I’ll fight Tyson Fury, Wilder, whatnot, without the belts,” vowed Joshua after Saturday’s defeat.
“The belts are fun, they’re great, it’s legacy. But with or without the belts, I’ll fight whoever.
“‘The Road to Undisputed’ is a nice title to have and a nice title to chase, but would you still watch it without the belts? Exactly.
“That’s the main thing – that you’ve got two competitors in the ring from UK soil that just want to go toe-to-toe.”