GIVEN that he’s a heavyweight champion, who fights in lucrative pay-per-view events, you’d think Anthony Joshua would have no trouble lining up a challenger. But the November 26 Manchester Arena Anthony Joshua opponent is still pending. It could however be announced by the end of this week.

The idea of taking on Hughie Fury was briefly floated. Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter said, “Hughie Fury, his fight with Andy Ruiz fell through. I phoned up Peter Fury and said we haven’t secured our opponent yet, do you want the fight? We offered him £600,000 with an upside on pay per view that probably would have given him £800,000. It’s a fortune. If you believe you can beat Anthony Joshua you take the fight for the heavyweight world title for £800,000. They asked for £1.5 million, which is like a 60-40 split and that just means we don’t want the fight. So that was how long that conversation lasted.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about Klitschko-Joshua,” he continued. “The fans don’t go, ‘You’ve got to progress Joshua in the right way.’ But at the same time you look at that fight and you think I think we win. So that’s why we said if it’s WBA and IBF, if it’s a unification would we do it? And I think the answer is yes. But we’re fighting here [at the Manchester Arena] in nine weeks, so we’ve got to announce [this] week really and things need to move at a pace.”

“We offered [Kubrat] Pulev £500, 600, 700 [000]. ‘No, no, no.’ You’re fighting for 100[000] for the European title, what is going on? [Bermane] Stiverne, we’ll give you double the money you’ll get for fighting Alexander Povetkin. ‘No, I’ll fight Povetkin,’” Hearn noted of the trouble trying to nail down opponents.

The most likely opponent for the Manchester Arena show therefore is Joshua’s mandatory challenger, New Zealander Joseph Parker.