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Over the weekend, the former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua knocked out Robert Helinius in round six. Joshua was underwhelming for the majority of the fight leaving fans wondering where that killer instinct was from the Klitschko fight years ago. But the fight ended with a spectacular knockout and now Joshua is already looking forward to the future. Today we will look at three possible fights for Anthony Joshua.
Bear in mind that this is boxing we are talking about and it’s a high probability that Joshua could fight the 37th ranked guy (Canada’s Simon Kean in this case) instead of a really good fight that would blow your socks off.
Deontay Wilder: The One That Got Away
Full steam is ahead on a long rumored bout between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. The fight dates back to when the two held all of the heavyweight titles in their possession. Now the titles have all changed hands to Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury and Wilder and Joshua are contenders in the division now.
The fight is rumored for January in Saudi Arabia and the Saudis are throwing money at them hand over fist. The estimated amount to be paid out is a staggering $110,000,000. The split for that fight is yet to be determined.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn says that this is the fight they are working towards now but Joshua says he wants to fight twice before the years out but that doesn’t seem to be the case if the Wilder fight is happening next and it’s in January. Of course there’s time for a tune up fight between now and then.
Don’t Count Out Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury
This is an all-UK match and a fight for the only belt Anthony Joshua couldn’t hold, the WBC Heavyweight Title. That is, of course, held by Tyson Fury. Fury is booked former UFC champion Francis N’Gannou in October but that fight shouldn’t pose much of a threat to Fury. Joshua could easily be booked for a card after the N’Gannou fight but before the fight happens.
This one would do massive numbers and give Joshua a huge payday. But the risk factor, something that has a big part to do with boxers and who they fight next, is very high with Fury, as it is with Wilder. The pay check would have to be in the range of Saudi money like what’s being thrown at him with Wilder.
Of course, fighting this fight in the UK could make up for it. Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua would be a guaranteed sellout. Put it at Wembley, the biggest stadium in the UK. 90,000 fans would pack themselves in the stadium to see this fight.
Don’t count on this one. Fury is notoriously hard to deal with and Anthony Joshua may not want the risk.
The Most Likely Option: Zhilei Zhang-Joe Joyce Winner
This option is the most likely of the three because it requires the least work. Joe Joyce was upset by China’s Zhilei Zhang last April. Zhilei knocked out the undefeated Joyce in round six surprising the boxing community with the feat. Joyce had a rematch clause in the contract and has since activated it. The bout is set for September 23rd.
Simply put, the winner of that would be on the table for Joshua. He could have a huge UK homecoming, similar but not quite the magnitude as the Fury fight, should Joyce win. Joyce is also a massive hitter similar to Deontay Wilder. His record is 15-1 with 14 knockouts. This gives Joshua the best of both worlds. He gets to face a UK name in the UK and someone who hits hard.
Zhilei Zhang is the other side of the equation and shouldn’t be counted out. He beats Joyce and a date with Anthony Joshua could be in the cards. Joshua could expand his market to China if he wished but it would be more likely to have that fight in New York or the UK. Zhilei is an older fighter, 40 years of age, and has a 25-1-1 record with the WBO Interim World Heavyweight title.
The WBO title is held by Oleksandr Usyk and that could get in the way of a fight with Joshua and the Zhilei-Joyce winner. But a fight would bring numbers none the less.
Of course there are other options out there that could happen as well. Expect names like Andy Ruiz, Luis Ortiz, Filip Hrgovic, and Otto Wallin to all be thrown around. With how the politics and business of boxing have a grip, one of these names might come out of left field and surprise all of us.
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