Boxing superstar Anthony Joshua is reportedly set to fight Australian Demsey McKean later this year.
Joshua, the former unified heavyweight champion, is plotting a return to the top of the division and is said to have McKean in his sights.
The Brit hasn’t fought since his rematch loss to Oleksandr Usyk last August.
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McKean is ranked in the top 10 and is unbeaten from 22 professional fights, with 14 knockouts.
His most recent win came against Patrick Korte in October in which he claimed the IBF Intercontinental heavyweight belt.
Joshua is a bona fide star of world boxing and a fight against the relatively unknown McKean might be seen as a surprising move on his quest back to the top of the heavyweight division.
McKean and Joshua are reportedly edging closer to locking in a stadium bout in April at London’s O2 Arena.
Speaking on TalkSport’s Fight Night boxing podcast, journalist Gareth A. Davies said Joshua’s next fight would be against the unheralded Australian.
“I think he’ll fight Demsey McKean, the undefeated Australian who’s ranked 10 with the WBO and I think 11 with the IBF,” Davies said.
“That will be a two or three-round knockout win for Anthony Joshua, probably at the O2 Arena, you won’t be able to get a seat.
“Then I think early in the summer, he’ll fight Dillian Whyte in Joshua-Whyte 2… I think he’ll knock out Dillian Whyte.
“It’ll be a brilliant build-up, they could sell out Wembley for that or take them to a massive football stadium.
“I think he’ll have a big year this year.”
Fight Night podcast co-host Adam Catterall said a fight with McKean is a logical one for Joshua and could help the former champion return to form.
“I have absolutely no problem with him fighting a fighter in McKean that a lot of people will have absolutely no idea who he is,” Catterall said.
“I have no problem with Anthony Joshua doing that for his first fight back, as long as it’s in the first quarter of the year.
“I want to see the old Anthony Joshua back. I want to see him be that wrecking machine that we all fell in love with.
“Once that (Joshua vs McKean) happens, and I strongly believe that it will happen, then I agree, Dillian Whyte is the perfect next fight.”
Joshua would enter the fight as an overwhelming favourite but McKean is confident he can beat the world’s top heavyweight fighters.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said a fight between Joshua and McKean makes sense.
He said: “He’s 22-0, he’s top 10 in the world, what more have you got to do?
“He’s yet to fight one of those elite guys but that’s what happens, you build your record, you learn in the game, you build yourself up the rankings and then you fight one of the elite guys, that’s the natural step next.”
The southpaw, nicknamed The Tower of Terror, wanted to fight Joshua at the Gabba, but a fight in the UK is far more likely.
“I think I did (enough to warrant a fight with a top name next),” McKean said after his win in October.
“It was an early knockout as well, and I’m going to have to hold Eddie (Hearn) to that, I think he said the Gabba against AJ.
“Obviously, that would be my first preference but any of those top-level guys that he mentioned.”
After Tim Tszyu’s superwelterweight world title fight was postponed when Jermell Charlo injured his hand, a fight between AJ and McKean looms as the next major bout for Australian boxing.
McKean told International Boxing News he is “one of the frontrunners” to next take on Joshua, but pointed out Joshua’s preference to fight orthodox instead of southpaw boxers might stand in the way of a potential bout.