ANTHONY JOSHUA elevated his status as one of boxing’s hottest properties with his dramatic win over Wladimir Klitschko last weekend and speculation is rife over who he will fight next.
WBC champion Deontay Wilder, WBO champion Joseph Parker and even former division ruler Tyson Fury are all names that have been mentioned for WBA and IBF champion Joshua’s next outing, which is expected in October or November.
His promoter, Eddie Hearn, has revealed that after seeing Joshua and Klitschko produce one of the greatest heavyweight title fights in modern history, he wants a rematch to come next.
“It’s one of the best fights I’ve seen, everyone wants to see it again,” he told Boxing News.
“It’s the biggest fight out there for Josh, other than the Fury fight, and I think he wins, so why not? That’s the fight we’d like next.”
Fury has not fought since his 2015 win over Klitschko but is now working on a comeback. Hearn doubts he will be ready in time to fight Joshua later this year, though remains hopeful the two unbeaten giants can collide in 2018.
Joshua rose from the first knockdown of his professional career to stop Klitschko in the 11th round in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium.
There was a rematch clause written into the fight contracts, meaning Klitschko can ask for an immediate return if he wants to. The 41-year-old Ukrainian – who dominated the heavyweight division for almost a decade – further enhanced his legendary status with a valiant showing against pre-fight favourite Joshua.
Having been outpointed by Fury in November 2015 – his most recent outing before fighting Joshua – ‘Dr Steelhammer’ had been written off by some but by giving Joshua hell, proved he is still a force at the elite level.
He will now take a break with his family before making a decision on his future. After speaking to Klitschko’s manager, Bernd Boente, Hearn’s initial optimism about a rematch has diminished slightly.
“It’s going to take a couple of weeks, it won’t take months, but he’s going to have a holiday I think, go away on Monday,” he continued.
“My initial thoughts were that he’d take the rematch. I spoke to Bernd Boente and I don’t know. I don’t know him well enough but I know he’s a competitor and I feel like he’s been searching for that respect for a long time and now he’s got it, so maybe that gives him closure.
“Put it this way; he’d much rather retire off the back of that loss than the Fury loss. Say he rematches Josh and gets knocked out in three rounds, he’ll kick himself for taking the rematch. But he’s a competitor, so he might watch the fight and think ‘oh, maybe I could’ve ended it in the fifth or sixth.’
“I reckon it’s 50-50, but I was more positive at the start of the week.”