Anthony Joshua v Carlos Takam - World Heavyweight Title Fight.

Anthony Joshua set to announce next fight with negotiations almost finalised

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Boxing fans have been on tenterhooks over the last two months, desperately waiting for an announcement regarding Anthony Joshua's next opponent.

Joshua's last bout was the 10th round knockout of Carlos Takam in October, who was a replacement for original mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, who pulled out through injury.

The win was the Watford-born man's 20th stoppage from 20 fights, keeping his pristine record in order.

It also meant he held onto his IBF, IBO and WBA world heavyweight titles, and after his victory against Takam, his promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed that Joshua would be looking to hold all five belts by the end of 2018.

This would mean two super-fights against WBO champion Joseph Parker, and WBC king Deontay Wilder, giving fans of the sport an awful lot to look forward to, plus the return of Tyson Fury to the sport.

However, Hearn and Joshua have kept everyone guessing as to who he would challenge first, with Wilder and Parker both keen to fight the Englishman.

It seemed as though negotiations were at a halt with Parker at one point, thanks to a dispute over the fee he would receive, while there has been difficulty with Wilder too.

But now, Hearn believes an announcement could be not too far away.

Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko Press Conference

Matchroom Boxing chairman Hearn says that they are close to a deal with Parker, and that the final details for the fight with the Kiwi could be ironed out over Christmas.

It is the news boxing fans have been hoping for, with the WBO champion seemingly an easier target than Wilder.

"We want that unification fight, we're close to a deal with Parker – it's not done yet but we hope over the Christmas period, the turkey will get put to one side and we'll work to get that done," Hearn said.

Anthony Joshua v Carlos Takam -  World Heavyweight Title Fight

"Hopefully we'll be in position to announce that early in 2018.

"AJ is that Willy Wonka fight - the golden ticket, the one everybody wants. A lot of people are talking "I want this, I want that" but if you really want it be realistic and come get it."

Joseph Parker Press Conference

Hearn is targeting three fights for Joshua in 2018, starting with Parker either at the end of March or the start of April.

He says his man is willing to take on anyone who can bring a world title to the table, though Tyson Fury would also be a very interesting proposition even as a non-champion.

"Every year has to be an increase on what we have just done. I want to go and become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and 2018 starts paving the way for that," he added.

Deontay Wilder v Bermane Stiverne

"Whoever is the first stop off, end of March or early April, so be it… but I do want it to be for a championship belt. There's two left - WBC and WBO. The WB is fine, whether it's the O or C is up to the opponent."

It looks set to be a brilliant year for British boxing in 2018.

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Tyson Fury
Anthony Joshua
David Haye
Wladamir Klitschko
Tony Bellew

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