World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua seems to be favouring a clash with former WBC title holder Bermane Stiverne rather than going straight in with IBF mandatory Joseph Parker.
The 26 year-old Londoner seemingly has three options open to him for a return to action later this year, with Parker, Stiverne and Bryant Jennings all being named by promoter Eddie Hearn recently.
A fight with Parker has to be agreed by November, although the International Boxing Federation would likely adhere to a request by Hearn and Joshua to grant an exemption. This means Joshua v Stiverne could go ahead beforehand and give US network Showtime a more appealing fight.
Joshua v Parker could then be built up for the spring, with the New Zealander possibly fighting on the undercard to give the American fans a chance to gauge the man ‘AJ’ has to eventually face.
Talking about Parker and Stiverne over the weekend, Joshua said the following to Sky Sports F1’s Craig Slater at Silverstone as he took in the British Grand Prix for the first time.
“Joseph is skilful, up and coming, undefeated but Bermane is skilful and he’s already at the top. He’s only taken one loss to the world champion now (Deontay Wilder) and he’s durable.
“People want to see me go the distance to see about the stamina, so I just think he (Stiverne) fits that criteria.”
Talk of third option, Jennings has cooled since he was initially cited as possible by Hearn, maybe due to the former world and interim title challenger having lost his last two fights.