Friday 14 December 2018

Joshua hints at Ireland fight in 2018 but Matchroom wary of overshadowing Katie Taylor's homecoming

Promoter Eddie Hearn, right, and boxer Katie Taylor during a press conference at City Hall in Dublin. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Promoter Eddie Hearn, right, and boxer Katie Taylor during a press conference at City Hall in Dublin. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Jack O'Toole

Matchroom Boxing are wary of overshadowing Katie Taylor's Irish homecoming after Anthony Joshua indicated that he would be open to fighting in Ireland next year.

Joshua retained his WBA, and IBF heavyweight titles on Saturday night with a 10th round stoppage of Carlos Takam in front of 74,000 fans at a packed Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

Joshua suffered a suspected broken nose during the fight but he indicated that he would be open to fighting in Ireland next year after he is medically cleared.

"Get my nose cracked back in place, number one," Joshua said of his immediate plans.

"Honestly, continue to grow the sport of boxing. Everyone knows where we're heading. What do the people want? That's what I'm interested in.

"It's not my decision what happens outside of the ring but what do the people want? UK? Okay..

"We've got London, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, where else? Vegas? Saying no to Vegas... I think people want to stay here.

"It's a beautiful thing. Look at what boxing is doing. People from different backgrounds, people flying in from different countries. It's bringing boxing back, it's uniting people so let's continue to keep boxing growing in the UK. That's where I'm coming from."

Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn said that the champion will look to fight WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker and former WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in 2018, and that the Olympic Gold medalist longs for the big fights.

"AJ has told me he wants the belts," said Hearn.

"Deontay Wilder v Anthony Joshua has to happen. There's also a great heavyweight called Tyson Fury. We want to see him come back to the sport, Anthony Joshua wants to be in the real fights. I promised you, I promised the fans, he will give you the fights that you want. I promise you that.

"Deontay Wilder, Joseph Parker, Tyson Fury - they're the 2018 fights."

Hearn added that the Takam fight was a mandatory defence of his IBF heavyweight title, and although Joshua may have floated the idea of Las Vegas in his post-fight interview, Hearn is reluctant to go abroad.

"Tonight was a mandatory," added the Matchroom promoter.

"You fight that fight or you lose the belt. He worked so hard for that belt. Anthony Joshua has achieved so much, I want to thank everyone tonight in Cardiff, I don't think we should go abroad, I think we should stay right here.

"I think we should keep the British flag flying, that's what Anthony Joshua has done."

With Katie Taylor winning the WBA female lightweight world title with a dominant unanimous decision win over Anahi Sanchez on the undercard of Joshua's fight with Takam, and Joshua indicating that he would be open to fighting in Ireland in his post-fight interview, contacted Matchroom for comment on a potential Joshua-Taylor card in Ireland next year.

A source close to Hearn said that there are no current plans for Joshua in Dublin or Ireland at present and that the first Dublin show will be Katie Taylor headlining a card at the 3 Arena.

Hearn told earlier this month that he has plans for Taylor to fight in the capital next spring.

"I'd like to try and get her out and have a defence before the end of the year," said Hearn.

"Katie likes to box in England, she'd love to box in Ireland, she likes to box in America, and America is somewhere that we might go in December for a quick fight but I think she's in a good place.

"There's a couple of American girls calling her name out, getting quite aggressive, which is nice, and the plan would be to then unify the title potentially in Dublin in the spring."

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