ANTHONY JOSHUA will have "no problem" fighting Francis Ngannou before the end of the year, his promoter Eddie Hearn said.
Tyson Fury signed to face Oleksandr Usyk in a undisputed title fight – eyed for December 23 – before facing ex-UFC champion Ngannou.
But Fury was astonishingly dropped and left battered and bruised in his crossover clash with Ngannou, which he controversially won on points.
So, the heavyweight division's first four-belt unification in Riyadh is now facing postponement until February.
But Saudi boxing bosses still want a Christmas cracker and have shifted their focus on Ngannou to headline the occasion.
Hearn wanted Joshua to fight before the year's close and would be happy to start talks for him to face the MMA superstar.
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He told Boxing News: "We'd take that fight on December 23, no problem. We're looking at that date for Joshua anyway.
"So maybe I'll reach out to them and just say, 'Listen, if you need an opponent for Francis Ngannou, AJ's ready. December 23, no problem at all.'
"I'd like a bit more time promotionally to make that fight what it is, which is one of the biggest fights out there.
"But if that's the date what was offered, then no problem."
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Joseph Parker and Zhilei Zhang were names touted to face Ngannou.
But Hearn hit back: "Nah, Ngannou's not fighting Zhang or Parker. There's no point. What's the point in taking a small fight now?
"You've had it off, take the biggest fight out there for the most amount of money and that is Anthony Joshua, maybe Deontay Wilder."
Hearn had been leading talks for Joshua, 34, to fight Wilder in the Middle East but negotiations broke down with Saudi backers.
But the promoter is now looking to stage the blockbuster next year with AJ boxing in the interim, much to the anger of Wilder and his team.
Hearn previously held talks for Ngannou, 37, to fight Joshua although AJ was uninterested at the time.
But after his performance over Fury, which Hearn believes should have seen him win, Joshua's mind could be changed.
Hearn revealed: "Now he's beaten Fury, I think you've got every excuse you need to fight him.
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"And I know he'd fight him. But he wants to win the world heavyweight title, that's all he wants to do.
"Ideally, it's a path that takes him there. But if the Ngannou fight is massive, my advice would be to take it."
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