Tony Bellew plots out Anthony Joshua's 2018 fight schedule

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Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker's potential fight looks set to be among the first major heavyweight clashes of 2018.

With multiple world titles at stake, it will be the biggest fight of Joshua's career to date and one that everyone is already talking about.

Interest the heavyweight division is particularly high right now given the return of Tyson Fury and reign of Deontay Wilder.

Sky Sports asked their own panel of pundits and experts to plot out their ideal three-fight 2018 schedule for AJ.

When asked who he would like Joshua to face next, Tony Bellew was in no doubt he needs to face Parker first.

"It's pretty simple, they write themselves don't they. First up, Joseph Parker, secondly maybe Tyson Fury, and then thirdly Deontay Wilder," Bellew said.

"The Parker fight, purely because he's got a belt. Adding that WBO to his IBF and WBA 'Super' is the only reason why I want to see that fight, then the Fury fight because it would be one of the greatest build-ups you have ever seen." 

Reading between the lines, Bellew seems to imply that the prospect of a Joshua-Parker matchup doesn't really excite him but still wants the title fight to happen to see the belts unified.

Boxing at Manchester Arena

Indeed, everyone else in the panel was quick to agree that Parker would and should be AJ's first battle of 2018.

Bellew's trainer, Dave Coldwell, echoed his sentiments but decided not to mince his words:

"I want to see Anthony Joshua against Joseph Parker first. It makes sense for him to get the WBO title. I think he absolutely smashes him to bits. I just don't think Parker's in his league, to be honest."

Anthony Joshua v Carlos Takam -  World Heavyweight Title Fight

Boxing fans will be happy to know that the Joshua-Parker fight is very close to being officially announced after significant steps have been made this week during negotiations.

A compromise on how the purse is split is now believed to have been reached and Parker's promoter, David Higgins, was delighted with the recent development.

"We have taken a giant leap forward," said David Higgins. "The fight has never been closer to reality."

Tony Bellew

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