ANTHONY JOSHUA has been told a future fight with Deontay Wilder is his – no matter what the result of his Oleksandr Usyk rematch.
Joshua is fighting to regain his belts and possibility his reputation after being dethroned by the brilliantly talented Usyk in September.
A win for AJ would also put him back on track for the undisputed crown, following previous broken down talks with WBC champion Tyson Fury.
Fury, 33, faces Wilder, 35, in a trilogy bout this Saturday night in Las Vegas and the winner will have their eyes on Usyk’s WBA, IBF and WBO belts.
But Wilder’s co-manager Shelly Finkel admitted even in defeat to Usyk again, Joshua would not be left out in the cold.
Finkel told SunSport: “We’d definitely fight him, win or lose.”
Wilder spent the best part of two years failing to agree terms with Joshua, before Fury swooped in to draw before beating the American.
In that period, AJ has lost the titles to outsider Andy Ruiz Jr, 32, won them back again before surrendering the throne once more, this time to Usyk, 34.
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The defiant British superstar wants nothing more than the chance to put things right, like he did against Ruiz six months after the shock defeat.
But avenging the loss to unbeaten Usyk will not be so easy and he has faced calls to swerve the rematch and build back another way.
Even rival promoter Bob Arum urged AJ to sit out, allow Fury to challenge Usyk instead, and fight the winner for all the marbles after a comeback fight.
But Finkel, who has been with Wilder’s since his 2008 debut, backed Joshua’s decision to go right back into the fire again and admired his courage.
He said: “If I was managing Joshua, a rematch is where I would go.
“I’m looking out for Deontay, and that’s all I’m looking out for, but I have been a fan of Joshua. He’s been a good representative of the heavyweight division.
“He needs to redeem himself, I don’t think he’s the same fighter he was before the fight with Ruiz and I feel early in this fight he got hit and wobbled by Usyk and that changed everything.
“He didn’t come forward, he came on a bit in the middle rounds, but the things is he didn’t do what he had to do it win.
“I think Usyk will be more confident in the next fight but Joshua has a very good opportunity in the rematch.
“I picked him to win the first fight because of his size and I didn’t think Usyk looked great against either Chazz Witherspoon or Derek Chisora.”