What’s Next for Anthony Joshua?
After his second career loss to the new Ukrainian Heavyweight champion and former Cruiserweight great Oleksandr Usyk at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September, Anthony Joshua is in a precarious position in his career.
After retaining his WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF Heavyweight titles against foe Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019, he has since gone on to knock out Kubrat Pulev before a would-be fantasy match-up with British rival Tyson Fury was cancelled.
Joshua’s loss to Usyk has shaken up the already interesting Heavyweight picture. With Tyson Fury top dog after defeating Deontay Wilder in their trilogy bout, potential fights will be made in the upcoming months.
For AJ, the question remains on where does he go from here now that he has lost his belts for a second time.
Let’s find out.
Somewhat of a shock loss to the Ukrainian, Usyk proved to be too skilled, too good and too much for AJ in their first fight. From the very first round, Joshua seemed confused at how to approach the fight with Usyk cutting angles and catching the Brit numerous times with his looping left.
Being a southpaw and a great one at that was always going to be a difficult challenge for AJ to overcome, but for many, and me included. I predicted Joshua would be too big, too strong and being a natural Heavyweight would get him over the line here.
In the end, Usyk proved everyone wrong, dominating AJ throughout, outboxing him and almost stopping him in the 12th Round.
If Joshua is to retain his titles in their eventual rematch, a new gameplan will need to be thought off, trying to box a boxer was a terrible decision and it cost him greatly.
Likelihood of Victory: 6/10
Potential to happen Next: 10/10
The biggest fight in British boxing history and what was seen as the biggest fight to make not long ago, the fight between AJ and Fury was so close to being made, but because of the pandemic and Deontay Wilder, the plug was pulled.
Since then, both fighters have had their contractual fights, with Joshua losing and Fury overcoming Wilder’s power to retain his WBC title.
Fans will still want this fight to happen, but the magic has been lost with Joshua taking another loss, further delaying the match-up.
With Joshua’s underwhelming performance against Usyk and Fury managing to knock-out Wilder for a second time, Fury would be a clear favourite if they ever were to box one another. But, if AJ can overcome his demons and Fury defeats his mandatory title defence, all signs will lead to the fight everyone wants.
Likelihood of Victory: 5/10
Potential to happen Next: 7/10
The modern-day Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe, Joshua and Wilder missed the boat in terms of pulling off the first undisputed champion since 2002. With disagreements over purses, contracts and small details, the fight that boxing needed was dead in the water, personified by Joshua shockingly losing to Ruiz Jr in New York in 2019.
With Wilder now 36 and coming to the twilight end of his career, the fight has to be made within the next 2-3 years to give boxing fans a definitive answer on who is the better man between the pair.
Win or lose in his rematch with Usyk, Joshua may well finally get in the ring with Wilder. With the Bronze Bomber seemingly out of the WBC title picture with his second loss to Fury, the road may be clear for a showdown with his British rival in a fight that should have happened 3 years ago.
Likelihood of Victory: 7/10
Potential to happen Next: 8/10
Joshua’s long time British rival Dillian Whyte has a score to settle with the man who handed him his first professional defeat back in 2015 with a devasting KO. This was after a heated build-up, with jibes thrown back and forth after Whyte defeated Joshua in the amateurs years prior.
Now, Whyte is scheduled to fight Tyson Fury for the WBC title if he defeats challenger Otto Wallin in October. If Joshua wins back his belts and his Whyte manages to defeat Wallin and then pull off an upset against Fury, the rematch between the pair could be on the cards.
Likelihood of Victory: 8/10
Potential to happen Next: 4/10
What’s Next for Anthony Joshua?
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