Eddie Hearn, promoter for former two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, says Dillian Whyte is the current frontrunner to face the British star in the early months of 2023.

Joshua previously knocked Whyte out in seven rounds back in December of 2015.

Joshua is looking to bounce back after suffering back to back decision losses to current WBO, IBF, IBO, WBA world champion Oleksandr Usyk.

Initially, he wanted to return before the end of the year, but his comeback is now tabbed for the first quarter of 2023.

Earlier this year, Whyte was knocked out in six rounds when he challenged WBC world champion Tyson Fury. 

Whyte is scheduled to return on November 26 against Jermaine Franklin.

Provided he overcomes Frankin, without injury, Whyte will be at the top of the list for Joshua.

"In terms of names, talking to [Joshua] the other day, he wants to fight Dillian Whyte, really. Dillian Whyte fights on November 26 against [Jermaine] Franklin, who is talking a tremendous game, and we’ll see how that plays out," Hearn told The DAZN Boxing Show.

"I think Dillian Whyte is the frontrunner [for Joshua] if he comes through. Otto Wallin is a guy that has reached out numerous times. That’s a good fight for him as well. Then there’s the [Deontay] Wilder situation. I’m not saying that’s going to be the fight for January or February, but it’s definitely a fight that he’s looking at.

"The feeling for AJ is the value of - and by the way, none of them are easy fights - a tune-up is sometimes they’re as dangerous as each other. I don’t think he wants to start dropping out of the top 15 and top 10 of the governing bodies and just looking for an easy touch. I think he wants a real fight, and those are all real fights that you could see."

Hearn tried to make a Joshua-Whyte rematch in 2019. In several interviews, the veteran promoter explained that Whyte had overpriced himself - which eventually led to Hearn booking the United States debut of Joshua. Things did not go as planned, as Joshua would suffer a shocking upset loss to Andy Ruiz at Madison Square Garden. Joshua would get revenge by winning their rematch six months later.