AFTER defending his WBA and IBF heavyweight titles against mandatory challenger Carlos Takam, Anthony Joshua is again expected to pursue significant fights in 2018.

Here, Press Association Sport examines his options.


Despite only Wladimir Klitschko’s retirement ending hopes of a Joshua-Klitschko rematch in Las Vegas next month, the champion’s first international fight is far from imminent. His trainer Rob McCracken did not discourage Eddie Hearn’s post-fight talk of Joshua fighting overseas, but the fighter spoke of the satisfaction he takes from fighting in the UK, and Hearn insisted the money for a fight in the US would only be sufficient under specific circumstances.

Though Matchroom’s recent venture into the US boxing market makes a fight there increasingly likely, Hearn also spoke of returning to Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. As the estimated 76,000 there to see Joshua fight a little-known opponent showed, he has significant and widespread appeal, so there is little to stop him fighting again at Wembley Stadium in the coming months, and Cardiff again next autumn.


Hearn also said they plan for Joshua to fight three times in 2018, starting with March or April. Given his nose was not broken, and instead only swollen, during Saturday’s fight, and the fact he has fought only twice in 2017, there is little to stop him doing so.


The specific circumstances Hearn was referring to for a US fight would have been in place for an opponent like Klitschko, and America’s WBC champion Deontay Wilder, but few others. Given Hearn wants Wilder to next fight Dillian Whyte, that makes Joshua-Wilder far from imminent. Should he not succeed in securing that fight, while a match-up with Wilder would be difficult to make, one with Whyte – Joshua’s long-term rival – would be significantly more straightforward because he promotes both. David Haye, in the event of victory in his December 17 rematch with Tony Bellew, would become another suitable opponent, and represents a match-up that would again attract a significant audience.

Joshua and Hearn having the freedom to select his next opponent will depend on whether the WBA demand he faces another mandatory challenger – Takam was enforced by the IBF – and the promoter said that whether they will remains unclear. The logical next opponent regardless is WBO champion Joseph Parker, who is beatable, known in the UK for his defeat of Hughie Fury, and as a fellow champion would allow Joshua to unify a third of the four world heavyweight titles.