After beating Wladimir Klitschko in an action-packed fight, Anthony Joshua has established himself as the man to watch in the heavyweight division. Joshua came back from a vicious knockdown to overwhelm Klitschko in the 11th round, knocking him down twice before finishing him off. The fight lived up to the hype and may go down as one of the most memorable heavyweight fights in modern boxing.
Where does AJ go from here?
As the big names of the heavyweight division clamor for a shot at the IBF champ, Joshua has a few names to choose from. Here’s a preview of some of his most likely opponents.
Odds on Anthony Joshua’s next opponent
Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs): 7/3
It may not be the fight boxing fans are looking for — nor the Joshua camp, which is eyeing bigger-money bouts — but the IBF wants a fight between the IBF champ and their number-one contender. Unless Joshua is willing to vacate the title, he may have to take on the WBA Inter-Continental champion. Pulev is a formidable opponent. His only loss was to Wladimir Klitschko back in 2014.
Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs): 3/1
With a rematch clause in the contract, Klitschko has the option to pull AJ back into the ring for a redemption fight. Joshua is also open to the idea, welcoming the possibility of a second fight in the near-future. The question is whether Klitschko will decide to continue fighting or hang up the gloves.
After a decade on top of the heavyweight division, the 41-year-old has already sealed his place in boxing history. He’s coming off two big losses, and with 64 professional fights behind him, he may decide to walk away.
If a rematch does happen, it could be the biggest fight of the year.
Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs): 3/1
Something will have to give if these two boxers pit their perfect records against each other. AJ has 19 wins with 19 knockouts; Deontay Wilder has 38 wins with 37 knockouts. A fight between the two would be one of the hardest hitting matchups in modern boxing.
As the WBC heavyweight champion, Wilder is an attractive opponent for AJ. If the heavyweight division is going to be unified, this fight needs to happen.
Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KOs): 9/1
As appealing as it sounds, I don’t know if this fight will ever happen. Fury has been out since 2015 and he’s hinted at a return so many times that I’m beginning to lose hope. It would be an amazing fight, though. The two biggest names in British boxing could go head-to-head at Wembley Stadium and rake in record numbers.
First things first, though. Fury needs to get back on track and officially return to boxing.
Photo credit: Karl-Ludwig Poggemann [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]