ANTHONY JOSHUA was hailed for his “gusty” performance against Oleksandr Usyk by Deontay Wilder’s manager – amid interest in a super-fight.
AJ was beaten on points by Ukraine’s pound-for-pound great for the second time in the space of a year.
Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel watched in admiration as Joshua, 32, challenged unbeaten Usyk, 35, twice on the spin despite losing.
It now leaves AJ and his promoter Eddie Hearn with a rebuilding job on their hands, which they hope to begin in December.
And Hearn named Wilder as a potential opponent in Joshua’s comeback trail, something Finkel is prepared to discuss.
He told SunSport: “He was gutsy to go right back into the fight when he clearly lost the one.
But it really depends mentally what Joshua feels he needs.
“If he needs to take a break and take a fight as a comeback fight or if he feels the real redemption is with Deontay, we’re open to it.”
Wilder, 36, returns himself on October 15 against former sparring partner Robert Helenius, 38, in New York.
Hearn revealed he approached Finkel before AJ’s rematch with Usyk to discuss a future fight with the Bronze Bomber but did not hear back.
Finkel confirmed he did receive an email to ring Hearn, but neither Joshua nor Wilder were directly mentioned in the message.
And he is unwilling to look past Helenius, which is Wilder’s first fight since losing to Tyson Fury, 34, in their epic October 2021 trilogy bout.
Finkel said: “Right now, we have one fight on our mind, and nothing else, which is Helenius.
“Because, if he doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do with Helenius, the rest doesn’t matter.”
Joshua and Wilder, unbeaten at the time, were in 2019 negotiating a huge undisputed title decider, but to no avail.
Although the public demand for the fight, despite both losing twice in a row, is almost as great as ever.
It leaves Finkel prepared to try again with Hearn in the future.
He said: “I’m not closed to it. I would never just walk away from it.
“If there’s a big offer there for that fight and Eddie wants to talk about it, at that point we’ll figure out what to do.
“If it’s meant to be this time – which it wasn’t in the past – it will happen. If it’s not meant to be, we’ll go our way and they’ll go theirs.
“It’s had a couple of years to build up, it’s like Mayweather and Pacquaio for an example, it didn’t lose any glamour at that time.”