OLYMPIC gold medallist Anthony Joshua will not fight on the July 18 bill at the Manchester Arena. Martin Murray will fill in on that show, while Joshua is now scheduled to take a significant bout at the O2 in London on September 12.

“He’s got 11 weeks now which is the perfect time for a full camp. You’re going to see him box a lot less now as time goes on,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. Joshua has finished all his professional bouts inside the distance so far but challenging opponents are being lined up for him. Poland’s Mariusz Wach or even Tony Thompson could be next.

“I like the Mariusz Wach fight. I think that’s a good solid test for Joshua but no one knows who Mariusz Wach is. But it’s a good fight for his development,” said Hearn. Wach has been the distance with Wladimir Klitschko and Thompson has fought the heavyweight ruler twice. “You’ve got Gary Cornish but I think he’s staying up in Scotland. David Price will hopefully win the European title but he won’t be fighting Joshua on September 12,” the promoter noted. “I like the Tony Thompson fight personally. That’s a great fight for Joshua, it’s a great yardstick on others. It’s an interesting fight and the public know who Tony Thompson is through the David Price fights.”

WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s latest challenger, Eric Molina is also an appealing foe for Joshua, though not one for the September 12 card. “I’d love the Eric Molina fight,” Hearn explained. “He was supposed to get bombed out in two rounds by Deontay Wilder. Now all of a sudden he’s half in the heavyweight mix, Molina, because he’s had a decent fight with Wilder, he’s rocked him.”

The promoter continued, “There’s been a lot of talk today about Dillian Whyte and that’s definitely a fight that I want to make for the one after September 12. I’ve been talking to Dillian for a couple of months and September 12 was always the date for the Dillian Whyte fight but Dillian had a hand injury and also Chris Okoh [his trainer] has been [injured] in a hit and run. He hasn’t had a trainer and he hasn’t been able to punch fully and he hasn’t boxed since February. So he made the decision, quite rightly as well, that he wouldn’t have the momentum he needed to fight Joshua on September 12. We’re looking at working with him and getting him out in the meantime and have that big fight probably in November. Hand dependent, he might box in Hull [on August 1], he might box on September 12 in some kind of eight round or 10 rounder.”