ANTHONY JOSHUA already has a "frontrunner" in contention for his next fight.
AJ is set to take the rest of the year off following consecutive defeats to Oleksandr Usyk, with a return eyed for February or March.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has drawn up a list of candidates to potentially welcome Joshua, 33, back to the ring.
And either Dillian Whyte, 34, or Jermaine Franklin, 29, who fight on November 26, lead that list.
Hearn told Fight Hub TV: “I think Otto Wallin is a very fair fight for Joshua to come back to.
“A lot of these guys price themselves out. Filip Hrgovic is a great fight. He’s IBF mandatory.
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"I think the winner of Dillian Whyte and Jermaine Franklin is a very, very good frontrunner for the next one."
Joshua was in line to make a quick return to the ring after shock talks to fight Tyson Fury on December 3 for the WBC title.
Fury, 34, had initially called out Usyk, 35, for a unification but the Ukrainian ruled himself out until next year.
So Hearn believes the Gypsy King took the opportunity to challenge a beaten-and-bruised AJ while expecting no answer back.
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Although Joshua did verbally accept the challenge – only for talks to collapse after a deal was not struck within Fury's timeframe.
Hearn said: “He got his bluff called, and he accepted it, and he just sort of lost faith a little bit with boxing because he really wanted to fight Tyson Fury."
Fury has now signed to fight Derek Chisora, 38, to complete their trilogy after his pair of one-sided wins in 2011 and 2014.
And it leaves Joshua to go back to the drawing board ahead of his comeback bout next year.
Hearn added: “I think that’s the main reason that he didn’t fight this year because it sort of messed up his mojo and made him think, ‘What are these people doing?
"They say they want to fight me. Now I’ve got a deadline. Chisora gets another month for the deal, and I had to sign it then.
“That’s why you’re going to fight maybe at the end of February but probably March.
“We were going through opponents tonight, and I think he’s going to have the rest of the year off probably and start camp at the beginning of January."
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