Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KO) has become a two-time heavyweight champion when he took the revenge against Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KO) this past weekend in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. The British boxer has regained IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles. In his next fight he is expected to face one of the mandatory opponents.
Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KO) is the mandatory opponent under the IBF. Joshua was expected to face him in 2017, but the challenger was forced to withdraw due to injury. WBO has ordered the champion to fight the former cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk (17-0) in 180 days.
AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn told ESPN that his fighter wants to keep all of the belts. His next opponent is expected to be determined shortly.
“He certainly doesn’t want to let [go of the titles] in the ring, or out of the ring,” said Eddie Hearn. “The IBF seems to be the one that was certainly ordered first. But I’ll need to speak to Daryl Peoples (IBF President), I’ll need to speak to ‘Paco’ [Francisco Valcarcel] (WBO President). [Joshua] certainly wants to make sure he can keep every belt. So that’s what we’ll be trying to do,” he concluded.
Joshua is expected to step inside the squared circle in April or May 2020. The location is yet to be determined with “six countries that are interested in staging his next fight”.
“We’re at a stage where it’s very difficult to go backwards financially, in any job, especially for a fighter. The place where he would earn the least amount of money is in the UK,” said Hearn. “But it’s probably his preferential choice in terms of all things being equal – where would you rather go? 100 percent, back to the UK.”
Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder for undisputed title
Anthony Joshua holds three major belts in boxing (IBF, WBO, WBA). Deontay Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KO) is a reigning WBC heavyweight champion, who is scheduled to face Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KO) in the rematch in February.
The Joshua vs. Wilder fight was previously in the works in 2018 but the deal wasn’t made.
According to Hearn, Joshua wants to be undisputed champion. As well, the initiative to make the fight happen should also come from Wilder and his team.
“So from our side, nothing has ever changed – he’s always wanted the Wilder fight, and he wants to be undisputed. And we’re not going to waste our time with time-wasters. If they’re serious and they’re real, let’s get to the table and make it happen,” said Hear. “We can’t base ourselves around them, they slowed us down last time. We’ve got to focus on our own business.”
If Wilder fails to retain his belt in the second encounter with Fury, things are likely to take a different direction.