Anthony Joshua’s next opponent: Wilder, Povetkin… or Fury?
Cian Carroll | 12 April 2018
Can AJ unify the heavyweight belts in the next year?
Anthony Joshua added the WBO heavyweight belt to his collection with a points win over Joseph Parker in Cardiff last month.
The British superstar now holds three of the four major heavyweight belts. He just needs to WBC strap to become the first person to unify the entire division since Lennox Lewis in 1999.
The problem is that Deontay Wilder holds that current belt and won’t be giving it up without a major scrap.
The Coral News Team takes a look at AJ’s options ahead of a pivotal 12 months in his quest to make history.
The 32-year-old American is the natural challenger to Joshua’s heavyweight kingpin status. The big-hitting Alabaman has swept all before him Stateside and a potential match-up would be massive.
In terms of numbers, it would arguably be the biggest heavyweight fight since Lennox Lewis faced Evander Holyfield in their original bout in ’99.
Styles make fights and Wilder’s erratic, unorthodox, come-forward style would certainly make for an entertaining bout. The American has accused AJ’s camp of avoiding him. However, Joshua has clearly stated his willingness and desire to face Wilder next.
One of the main issues with holding so many belts at one is the mandatory challenges that each governing body will demand.
And that’s now why Povetkin becomes the spanner in the works of any Wilder fight in the next few months. The WBA has ordered Joshua to defend the strap against the 38-year-old Russian.
Povetkin was last seen fighting on the undercard of AJ v Parker in Cardiff. The former WBA champion – who held the belt between 2011 and 2013 – knocked out David Price that night.
Joshua has stated his hope that Povetkin will step aside for now and let the Wilder fight happen. However, the Kursk native then takes the risk of losing a huge payday if Wilder wins that particular fight.
The enigma that is Tyson Fury recently announced his comeback would take place against an – as yet – unnamed opponent on June 9 in Manchester.
The former world champion will definitely be eyeing up a bout with Joshua at some point. But he’ll likely have to prove his fitness over the course of a few fights before he sets his sights on AJ.
The ideal scenario from a British boxing fans view might be a Joshua v Wilder super-fight. With the winner then taking on a rejuvenated and focused ‘Gypsy King’.
It’s certainly a future prospect to savour and showcases just how strong the current heavyweight division is right now.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing
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