Now the dust has settled on what was a tremendous six and a bit rounds of boxing at The O2 on Saturday night that saw Olympic gold medalist add The British Heavyweight Title to his list of honours, we ask: "What's next for Anthony Joshua?"
A thunderous uppercut floored arch rival Dillian Whyte, who put up a much better performance than most expected, as Whyte couldn’t make it to his feet AJ picked up the KO victory.
In a fight that was the headline on a PPV show in a sold out arena, it’s clear that Joshua has boxing fans eating out of the palm of his hand and eager to see him fight, so what next for Britain’s biggest prospect? We take a look at five names that are on AJ's radar and just how likely these fights are to happen and when.
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This former world title challenger boxed on the same bill as Joshua at the O2 this Saturday in what was a routine knock out win over little known Croatian Jakov Gospic.
Chisora did what he had to do on Saturday and having showcased their talents on the same evening it seems highly likely that “Del Boy” will be put in front of Joshua next. This will be seen as a noticeable step up for Joshua and probably the right kind of fight at the right time.
Chisora is a former British and European champion and has only lost to three world champions as well as a very dubious loss to Robert Helenius.
Since losing to new World Champion Tyson Fury in November last year, he has since changed trainers and has gone on a four fight unbeaten streak.
Dereck certainly has the tools, skill set and experience to pose a lot of questions to Joshua as promoter Eddie Hearn looks likely to set up another all-London clash for his prized Heavyweight around March/April next year.
Malik Scott (USA)
A fighter that was in attendance on Saturday night and made his presence felt was Philadelphia-born Malik Scott. Not a stranger to fighting in the UK as a former adversary to the aforementioned Chisora when Scott lost in the 6th round.
Since his previously unblemished record was tainted by “Del Boy” he has gone on to pick up some impressive wins over former world title challengers Alex Leapai and Tony Thompson (Better known as the guy who flattened British Olympian David Price, not once but twice.) Scott is now ranked in the top ten with most governing bodies and a fight with Joshua would be seen as a natural fight to make.
He attended the Whyte v Joshua press conference and said to Joshua’s face that Whyte would win - bare in mind Malik and Dillian are friends outside of the ring. Scott also climbed into the ring after Joshua’s victory and was seen giving Joshua an ear full. Quite what was said is unknown but I’d certainly like to have been a fly on the wall with that conversation.
It seems that he is trying to rattle Joshua and get his name out there to pick up a fight with the new British Champion and it may just work as a potential fight if Joshua can come through Chisora.
Haye makes his long-awaited return from retirement after over 18 months out of the ring when he fights Mark de Mori at the O2 next month. A former two weight world champion at both Cruiserweight, where he unified multiple belts and at Heavyweight when he beat the 7-foot monster Nikolai Valuev.
Since these achievements, however, Haye is probably better known for his multiple pullouts of two proposed fights with Fury, a very disappointing loss to Wladimir Klitschko and a stint in the jungle on “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here”.
It’s unclear just how good Haye’s level of ability still is until he fights but even if he’s just 80% of the fighter he once was it’ll represent a huge leap in class for Anthony Joshua.
Known for his great athleticism, power and speed, Haye has been there and done it and his hunger is what may come into question. Considering Whyte was able to cause Joshua some problems on Saturday night, Joshua will need to make some improvements quickly if he has his eyes set on a huge British clash with The Hayemaker.
A lot of questions will be answered after Haye has made his comeback but according to the talk from Matchroom Sports (Joshua’s promotional team), they feel it’s the main target for AJ next summer as an outdoor stadium fight.
Personally, I think it might be too much too soon for the young lion but it’s a fight I’d love to see.
The controversial self-proclaimed “Gypsy Warrior” is just as well-known for his out-of-ring antics as well as his achievements inside the squared circle.
The new and unbeaten unified heavyweight champion of the world is the man of the moment in British boxing and rightly so. Regardless of your thoughts on what Fury has to say, his achievements can’t be downplayed as he went to Klitschko’s backyard and schooled the champion who had been the heavyweight king for over a decade.
Fury has improved massively and now sits at the top of the tree when it comes to heavyweights and is undoubtedly the ultimate goal for Team AJ but not yet.
The new champion has contractual obligations in place to fight Klitschko in a return bout and undoubtedly there will be a mandatory that will need to take place at some point in the upcoming year if he can beat Klitschko again.
Although Joshua will clearly want this fight down the line it’s not a contest that can be made easily. Fury holds all the cards as the belt holder and under different promotional companies business won’t necessarily run smoothly.
The likelihood of this fight materialising is probably 50/50 and as we know in boxing “money talks” and if there’s enough cash on the table it could tempt both men into getting it on.
In my opinion, though this fight isn’t likely to happen next year and maybe not until Joshua brings his own version of a world title to the table. If it does happen though and both men remain undefeated expect it to be one of, if not the biggest fight in British boxing history.
Deontay Wilder (USA)
One of two current heavyweight world champions as Wilder holds the WBC strap. He is hot property on the other side of the Atlantic as he’s yet to be toppled in 35 contests.
He’s scheduled to fight in New York on the same night as Haye makes his comeback in London. Wilder will need to take a mandatory defence against Alexander Povetkin soon enough and that’s going to be Wilder’s toughest test so far.
This 6'7' fighter is taller than Joshua and has arms longer than Spider Man nemesis Doctor Octopus so has a huge reach advantage over most of his opponents as well as the multiple skills he possesses.
The WBC clearly want to make the Joshua v Wilder fight as they rank the Brit at number two in their rankings and are pushing him towards a final eliminator.
If the Fury fight can’t be made then this will look to be the route that Joshua pursues with the hope that if he can bring another belt to the table then it’ll be an even bigger fight with Fury.
Wilder is currently being managed by boxing’s "Mr Big" Al Haymon and in terms of promoters he has the biggest bank balance around. If this fight were to happen the likelihood is it’ll be on US soil but as both men are still relatively young there’s no immediate rush to make this happen and is one that we are more likely to look forward to years down the line but is a fight I’d expect AJ to win.
No matter what path Team Joshua opts to take there’s no doubt there’ll be many twists and turns as well as explosive action along the way. We just need to sit back and enjoy the ride to the top.
Who would you like to see Joshua face next and how far do you expect the new British Champion to go? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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