Boxing

Anthony Joshua already knows what's next for him after Kubrat Pulev

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When Wladimir Klitschko announced in August that he would not be returning to the ring for a rematch with undefeated unified champion Anthony Joshua, boxing fans wondered who the 27-year-old would fight next.

36-year-old Kubrat Pulev, the mandatory challenger, was the obvious, unavoidable choice.

But, with many other notable heavyweights tied up with matches already made, it was difficult to say who would come after Pulev for the Watford fighter.

Few would have called Luis Ortiz, a Cuban fighter styled as the most avoided heavyweight in professional boxing.

An experienced, counter punching southpaw, with an amateur record of 362 fights (343 wins and 19 losses), it seemed unreasonable to expect Joshua to risk it all against a man with relatively little exposure in the UK. 

It appears that love of the sport, not to mention Joshua's attachment to the WBA crown, won out.

Luis is the WBA's mandatory challenger, which means that Anthony Joshua - if he defeats Pulev -must face him next or be stripped of the WBA title.

Joshua, ever positive, welcomes the challenge.

"We ain't ducking, we're firing back," Joshua said.

"We want to keep these belts and, to do that, you have to fight the good fighters. They are stepping stones.

“Each challenge that presents itself is another hurdle."

In addition to an amateur record that reads like the top speed of a fighter jet, Ortiz is undefeated in  29 bouts since turning professional in 2010.

Challengers to Anthony Joshua have often been overblown. Martin, Breazeale, Molina, there was never more than a snowball's chance in hell that any of them could withstand the composed power of the 250lb colossus.

To date, his most challenging fights were against arch-rival Dillian Whyte, and the former super champ Wladimir Klitschko.

Even Pulev looks outmatched, but Ortiz, in spite of being nearly 40, could well use his experience to simply out-box Joshua, and end his unbeaten record.

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Topics:
Boxing
David Haye
Floyd Mayweather
Manny Pacquiao
Wladamir Klitschko

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