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Anthony Joshua still yet to reach his prime, says promoter Eddie Hearn

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Eddie Hearn says he cannot afford to delay negotiations for Anthony Joshua's next opponent until after the Wilder v Fury fight on December 1

Promoter Eddie Hearn believes that "trailblazer" Anthony Joshua is still yet to reach his prime, despite closing in on the "ultimate goal" of becoming the undisputed heavyweight world champion.

Joshua has raced to a record of 22-0-KO21 in the professional game, five years after first turning over, and, having most recently defended his WBA 'Super', WBO and IBF world titles with a devastating stoppage of Alexander Povetkin, 'AJ' sits within touching distance of undisputed supremacy.

Joshua celebrated his 29th birthday on Monday and Hearn admits that his heavyweight charge is still very much learning on the job and yet to reach his full potential in the ring.

Anthony Joshua
Image: Anthony Joshua is unbeaten in 22 fights

"You have to say with the amount of fights Joshua's had, he's been absolutely faultless. We couldn't have asked for a better progression," Hearn exclusively told Sky Sports.

"We jumped into the world title scene a lot quicker than anticipated, after 16 fights. One of the toughest things in his career so far is having to learn on the job at that level, particular against Wladimir Klitschko, Joseph Parker and Povetkin.

He's three or four fights away from being in his prime, probably a year or two away from his peak in the sport.
Eddie Hearn

"He's three or four fights away from being in his prime. Right now, he is probably a year or two away from his peak in the sport.

"People don't necessarily realise that he's putting himself out there in front of 80/90,000 people, fighting the best heavyweights out there while he is learning."

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WBC king Deontay Wilder holds the last jewel in the undisputed crown and Hearn is confident that 'AJ' will soon achieve his "ultimate goal" before going on to build his legacy in the sport.

Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder
Image: Negotiations are ongoing for a fight between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder

"What I want his legacy to be, which is something he shares, is to be one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, to be the undisputed champion is the ultimate goal, it might happen as soon as April 13.

"We are starting the conversations now, I don't want to wait and start from scratch on December 1 as then we'd be under pressure, I want to get a feel now and see what deal Wilder's team may accept and then we can get somewhere close.

"It's amazing to see this young man [Joshua] go from his O2 debut as a young kid out of the Oympics, to where he is now, the biggest figurehead in the sport of boxing, a trailblazer and the biggest idol, icon and ambassador in the sport. I'm very proud of him.

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Hearn is hopeful the Wilder fight can be made for April 13.

"When you live the lifestyle he leads and have the hunger and passion that he does, he's not going to want to give it up.

"He wants to fight the very best and there's not many more to go through, Wilder is the focus and that could be one, two, three or even four fights, who knows. Dillian Whyte, Luis Ortiz and those guys are all big fights for AJ.

"If I had to put a time span on it, I'd say he'd fight on for another five to six years, having 10 or 12 fights, it's just important he stays healthy and keep doing what he is doing."

Watch the action from Boston with Demetrius Andrade vs Walter Kautondokwa, Katie Taylor vs Cindy Serrano, Tevin Farmer vs James Tennyson, with Kid Galahad, Tommy Coyle and Scott Quigg on Sunday morning, from 12am, live on Sky Sports Action and Main Event.

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