Anthony Joshua's next seven fights after Andy Ruiz Jr victory predicted

Anthony Joshua is officially the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion of the world.

Having relinquished his belts with a shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr. on June 1, the Brit has returned to his throne after outboxing the American-Mexican in their immediate rematch on Saturday.

It was a brilliant display from Joshua who showed impeccable footwork, operated behind a firm jab and remained disciplined whenever Ruiz fought on the inside.

While Ruiz later admitted that he’d partied too hard, it was still an impressive performance from Joshua and the scorecards were wide enough to avoid a trilogy fight.

As a result, fight fans are starting to wonder who Joshua will exchange leather with next and even a queue of mandatories doesn’t make his immediate plans explicit.

Joshua’s next seven fights?

But try telling that to us. Here at GIVEMESPORT, we’ve decided to take on the unenviable task of predicting Joshua’s series of upcoming opponents – and no fewer than seven of them.

We feel pretty confident about the next few bouts, but we’ve had to dust off our crystal ball and forecast all the boxing politics to imagine who Joshua will fight beyond 2020.

We’re just going to establish one rule: we’re assuming Joshua will keep winning in order to avoid the complications of potential rematches and how each bout might actually play out.

1. Kubrat Pulev

With both the IBF and WBO infuriatingly calling their mandatories to be fulfilled before June, we think Joshua will drop the latter and take on the former’s number one – Pulev – for three reasons:

A. It’s the easier fight (the WBO’s mandatory is Oleksandr Usyk).

B. It was the fight heavyweight title that Joshua ever won, back in April 2016.

C. Eddie Hearn will want to keep as many of the heavyweight belts in the Matchroom stable as possible. Pulev is signed with PBC, whereas Joseph Parker and Usyk – who would be ordered to fight for the WBO strap if Joshua drops it – are both under Hearn’s umbrella. 

But even if Hearn can reach a compromise between the two governing bodies, we still think Pulev will be next in 2020 because the IBF made their ruling first.

That, and they’re far harsher with enforcing their decisions. Just look at what happened to Tyson Fury a few days after defeating Wladimir Klitschko if you don’t believe us.

2. Oleksandr Usyk

There are two scenarios here: the IBF and WBO reach an agreement and therefore, Joshua is obliged to fight the latter mandatory at the back end of 2020.

Or: Joshua drops the belt, we back Usyk to comfortably beat Parker and Hearn quickly tries to reunite the titles by putting his two fighters together in a blockbuster clash.

Given how Hearn has managed Usyk in the first year of their collaboration, we imagine this fight would take place stateside and could even mark a cathartic return to Madison Square Garden.

3. Deontay Wilder

From this point on, the fights are difficult to call, but both Fury and Wilder should be freed up by early 2021 after likely completing a trilogy of bouts on the other side of the pond.

And despite all the negotiation drama of the past, we believe Wilder is the most realistic fight with Fury potentially retiring at the end of his ESPN deal and claiming he’ll never fight in the UK again.

Plus, we believe Wilder will lose at least one of his next two fights with the ‘Gypsy King’, so might feel more compelled to cash in and finally agree to terms with Joshua.

We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed that all four belts are on the line when this comes to fruition.

4. Michael Hunter

Mandatories pile up quickly when you have four belts and by late 2021 comes around, almost three years will have passed since the WBA last enforced an opponent for Joshua.

As a result, we’re left to predict that Hunter will hold that title, having recently fought to a draw in an eliminator with Povetkin. We’re pretty confident ‘Bounty’ will be victorious in any potential rematch.

The only fighters above him in the current WBA rankings that we don’t predict Joshua will have fought by late 2021 are Luis Ortiz and Adam Kownacki.

Ortiz will likely have retired by this point, whereas Kownacki is being positioned for the WBC belt, and it makes sense that Hearn will angle for the in-house bout that Joshua vs Hunter would prove.

5. Dillian Whyte

By 2022, Joshua would hypothetically be clear of mandatories, unable to fight a newly retired Fury and finally free for a long-touted rematch with Whyte.

The ‘Body Snatcher’ will have tried and failed to secure the WBC strap by this point, but would still carry enough public interest to attract an all-British clash at Wembley.

6. Filip Hrgovic

Literally one fight and the mandatories will snowball again, especially if we’re making the presumption that Joshua is an undisputed champion by this point.

So, assuming the WBC are enforcing this bout, we’re predicting Hrgovic will rise up from his current position of 11th and claim a mandatory spot as one of the most promising prospects in the sport.

Hrgovic will have dispatched the likes of Dereck Chisora and Joseph Parker by this point in his career and making a fight with his Matchroom stablemate shouldn’t be too difficult to organise.

7. Daniel Dubois

Think this is unrealistic? You might be right, but trying to predict all the boxing politics that will transpire over the next four years is nearly impossible. In other words: stick with us on this.

Dubois is being slowly brought through the ranks under Frank Warren and by 2023, he will have racked up some strong names on his record and crawled his way into a mandatory spot.

For all we know, Dubois might even be under Hearn’s watch by this point and an all-British clash between the current king and his potential successor makes sense from a business perspective.

No Fury? Ambitious about Wilder?

Disappointed with some of the fighters? You have every right to be, but that’s boxing.

As much as we’d like to predict Joshua and Fury exchanging blows under the Wembley arch, the politics aren’t exactly promising and we’re even being optimistic with the Wilder forecast.

But hold your reservations on potential Hrgovic and Dubois fights, because both fighters will be some of the best in the world by 2022/23 and even have the potential to dethrone Joshua. 

However, we just know the ever-changing landscape of boxing will pull the rug from under our predictions sooner rather than later.

And you only need to look at June 1 to see that anything and everything can happen in the heavyweight division.

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