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Anthony Joshua: What next for the heavyweight champion?

With Wladimir Kiltschko announcing his retirement from boxing today, Lewis Watson looks at the remaining options for Anthony Joshua's next fight.

Who will be the next to attempt to wrestle the WBA (Super) and IBF straps from ‘AJ’?

  1. 1 Kubrat Pulev (25-1)

    The IBF mandatory challenger comes in the form of the hard-hitting Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev. With one loss to Wladimir Kiltschko on his C.V, the 36-year-old will push hard to make the Joshua fight happen, with rumours already circling that the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff has been booked in October for this fight.

    Joshua has made no hints that he wants to vacate the IBF strap, and if this is still the case, Pulev is rightly odds on to be the next man to enter the lion's den against the Brit.

    With many of the other big heavyweight players tied up at the moment, a no nonsense defence against the limited Bulgarian makes perfect sense for Joshua and Eddie Hearn, as they look to unifications and big money fights in 2018.

  2. 2 Luis Ortiz (27-0)

    'King Kong' Ortiz was bought in by Matchroom on a two-fight deal which expected to set him up for a 'huge' clash with Joshua. However, the slick Cuban was underwhelming in his wins over Malik Scott and Dave Allen which has subsequently lessened the appeal of a date with 'AJ'.

    However, still unbeaten, Eddie Hearn would have no problem selling this fight as a 'dangerous' opponent for Joshua, with Ortiz currently holding the WBA mandatory position.

    Joshua wins this fight comfortably regardless, with money perhaps taking a precedent on the choice between Ortiz and Pulev.

  3. 3 Deontay Wilder (38-0)

    Unlikely as it is, Deontay Wilder is still without an opponent, and the WBC champ would make a life changing amount of money with a unification bout with Joshua. 

    Still unbeaten, the 'Bronze Bomber' has cherry-picked his way to a  38 winning streak, with his toughest test to date coming in the shape of Bermane Stiverne when he clinched the strap in 2015.

    At 31, Wilder will be better suited taking the Dillian Whyte fight, which will simultaneously increase his profile in the UK as he eyes up a Joshua unification sometime in late 2018. 

  4. 4 Joseph Parker (23-0)

    This possible match-up depends solely on Parker's fight with Hughie Fury in September. If the Kiwi manages to dodge the bullet of 'The Fist of Fury' a potential bout with Joshua could be pencilled in for early 2018.

    Team Fury are banking on stealing the WBO belt in Manchester on September 23 however, and with talks already finalised to fight David Haye in their first defence there is still plenty of possible movement, with the WBO belt likely to change hands quickly in the up coming 18 months.

    Who would you like to see Joshua fight next? Comment below...

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Lewis Watson

London based boxing Editor, fanatic and all-round lover of the 'Sweet Science'. Growing up in the 90's, Tyson, De La Hoya and Savon grabbed Lewis' attention at an early age, with Hatton-Tzsyu confirming the obsession in 2005.

As a student of the sport, you'll find him flicking through the archives of past "Sugar" Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali fights, as well as wide-eyed on a Sunday for the 5am Vegas bouts.

Also covering football, darts and tennis content for BetVictor and Betfair.

Anthony Joshua: What next for the heavyweight champion?

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