IT all seemed set: Anthony Joshua, 15 straight wins with 15 inside-the-distance finishes, would likely fight a resurgent Dereck Chisora on April 9 at London’s O2 Arena. The latter’s name value and experience at world level – and the Sky Sports Box Office figures generated by Joshua’s exciting stoppage win over Dillian Whyte in December – would provide ample reason to make the clash pay-per-view, while Chisora’s aggressive style could test Joshua and, even if it did not, would contribute to another entertaining spectacle. Then the European Boxing Union changed the game by making Chisora mandatory for their heavyweight title opposite champion Robert Helenius, a man who defeated the Finchley fighter in highly controversial fashion in December 2011. That fight goes to purse bids next week (January 21) and, even if Dereck were to lose – but not get blown away – the a fight with Watford’s British and Commonwealth king would likely still be there for him.
All this means Joshua and promoters Matchroom Boxing, led by Eddie Hearn, must find another opponent for the O2 but, luckily for him, Boxing News spoke to five men who would be willing to face him on April 9 – starting on the next page.