Eddie Hearn lists possible opponents to sum up 2019 for Anthony Joshua!
Before IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA heavyweight world champion Anthony “AJ” Joshua (22-0, 21 KO’s) could step in the ring this upcoming Saturday, Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KO’s) dropped a bombshell on the heavyweight division. Yesterday, the WBC champion made it public knowledge that he would be fighting Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (31-1, 26 KO’s) in September. This announcement effectively killed any notion that Wilder would face Joshua this year. Wilder v Joshua is just about the most anticipated prizefight to be made in the entire sport.
With Wilder no longer a viable option for 2019, Eddie Hearn has given three other potential challenges for AJ to face before the years end. Via his Twitter account, the Matchroom promoter listed Kubrat Pulev, Oleksandr Usyk and Dillian Whyte as would-be challengers. When comparing these names to Wilder, it is a tad bit difficult not to be disappointed.
The first of the three, Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev (27-1, 14 KO’s) is Joshua’s current IBF mandatory. Pulev was last in the ring this past March when he collected a seventh round KO victory over Bogdan Dinu. Unfortunately, later that same day, “The Cobra” would become involved in a controversial scandal with boxing reporter Jenny “Sushi” Ravalo.
At the conclusion of a post-fight interview, Pulev abruptly kissed Ravalo on the lips. In the days following the incident, Ravalo lawyer-ed up and made her intentions to sue public knowledge. Then, in a soap opera worthy turn of events, Team Pulev released their own incriminating footage of Ravalo. In the video, Ravalo was seen fraternizing with members of Team in manner that significantly cast doubt on how offended she was by the initial kiss.
Since all the hubbub, Pulev has gone before the CSAC and received a mild slap on the wrist. Although he is currently under suspension, Pulev would have ample time to satisfy the terms of his punishment and be available for a fourth quarter clash.
Oleksandr Usyk (16-0, 12 KO’s) is a fighter of fantastic skill. However, at the moment he is on the sideline due to injury. Usyk accumulated a great deal of positive press last year by winning the World Boxing Super Series. In fact, his name was regularly tossed around as a potential for “fighter of the year.”
Even though Usyk is a tremendous fighter, he is unlikely to answer the call to fight Joshua. Not only is he currently out of commission, he is a cruiserweight moving up to heavyweight. Logic would suggest that coming off an injury to face one of the heavyweight division’s top dogs is not where Usyk wants to test the heavyweight waters.
Of the three names provided, Dillian “The Body Snatcher” Whyte (25-1, 18 KO’s) is probably the easiest to make. Whyte is already a Matchroom stablemate with Joshua and the two have already fought in the amateurs and pros. Although AJ is fighting Andy Ruiz Jr (32-1, 21 KO’s) this Saturday, many had believed that Whyte would secure a fight with Joshua back in the UK. Following Joshua’s defeat of Alexander Povetkin, Team Joshua had reserved Webley Stadium and Whyte was the leading candidate to fill the date. Negotiations broke down in the end and Joshua decided now was the time to fight in America.
First, AJ must make good and beat Ruiz Jr. Then we will have to wait and see who is next for the UK superstar.
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By: Bakari Simpson