It’s that time again in the heavyweight division where fighters – some credible, some not so – line up for a crack at either, Anthony Joshua’s IBF title, or Deontay Wilder’s WBC. This time it’s the recently crowned Brit that is getting applicants fly at him like he’s a job centre advisor.
This week we’ve had David Price who’s spilled the beans on a previous sparring session in an attempt to goad the younger man into letting him step through the ropes with him. But who actually is there that’s credible enough for the former Olympic Gold medallist to fight without him being overly-criticized?
Such is the dearth of talent in the heavyweight division that AJ is going to have a hard time whoever he fights, unless it’s one of the other title holders or a certain David Haye.
First of all, we can take ‘the Hayemaker’ out of the equation, as Matchroom have already stated that it’s a fight for next year. Understandable, given that the Bermondsey fighter hasn’t backed them into much of a corner with his comeback opponents – regardless of our own opinions of how that mega-fight would turn out.
The aforementioned David Price definitely has the power, but does he have the mental toughness for a fight of that magnitude – let alone the chin. I personally would like to see him fight a nearly-man in the division before anyone could take him seriously at that level. The way it’s panned out for the former Beijing Olympian is truly gutting – considering in two of his bouts he’s succumbed to opponents cheating their way to victory – but he’s going to have to fight his way back.
The Hughie Fury fight would have been much appreciated on these shores but it’s been stated that that’s another one for next year. Even though Joshua is a title holder, the general consensus is that he hasn’t been tested – very much in the same way that Hughie hasn’t – and that would’ve been a great match-up stylistically as well.
Bermane Stiverne has been mention and, although he’s a name, he’s only fought once since losing clinically to Deontay Wilder in January of last year – a unanimous decision against Derric Rossy back in November. The same Derric Rossy that has won just twice in his last eight contests.
But, what about Kubrat Pulev? The Bulgarian has only lost once in his career – albeit a clinical one against former heavyweight ruler, Wladimir Klitschko – but he’s coming off a one-sided victory against our own Dereck Chisora. Granted, whether Pulev has the power to test Joshua’s chin is another matter – he only has 12 KO’s from his 23 victories – but he is a massive step up from anyone that the Londoner has faced in his entire career.
I don’t think anyone could really criticise Joshua for taking that as a voluntary and a good victory – I think a job similar to what Klitschko did on him – would send out a big statement. Credible, durable and ‘the Cobra’ is going down the IBF route as it is. Eddie, let’s get it on!
Who should Anthony Joshua fight next? @britishboxers