Following a majestic victory over Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday night, Anthony Joshua finds himself with a massive decision which is almost certain to have an impact on his further unification hopes.
The IBF have already stipulated Joshua must face Kubrat Pulev next despite the possibility of a Klitschko rematch, and as everybody knows, the organisation is usually rigid on what happens next with their title.
Add to that the WBA’s ongoing tournament, which stated some months back that the Joshua v Klitschko winner has to face Luis Ortiz, it all means ‘AJ’ is likely to drop a championship somewhere along the line.
At the age of 41, Klitschko will be thinking hard about whether he wants another dose of Joshua’s power at this stage of his career and could opt to go the WBO route himself where Joseph Parker is looked upon as the lesser of three evils in the champion stakes.
Ortiz could possibly be the frontrunner at this point due to his previous dealings with promoter Eddie Hearn, who will be doing all he can to persuade on of the governing bodies to allow Joshua special dispensation to face the Cuban and then Pulev (or vice versa) in a bid to retain his belts.
Joshua is known to want all four straps, but with Parker eyeing up a clash with Tony Bellew this summer and Deontay Wilder only able to delay purse bids for a rematch with Bermane Stiverne for so long, either of those match-ups will have to wait.
Like Tyson Fury after his win over Klitschko, it’s going to be harsh to see Joshua drop a belt as his reward for being the first fighter in 13 years to halt the Ukrainian, leaving Hearn with a tough job on his hands to stop that from happening.
To sum up, Ortiz or Pulev seem to be next in theory, whilst the lure of Klitschko looms large for a second helping. Wilder and Parker could be delayed until 2018 – at the very
Wilder or Parker could be delayed until 2018 – at the very earliest, unless Joshua changes his mind about becoming the undisputed heavyweight king in the next twelve to eighteen months.
Any fight with Fury has already been dismissed by Hearn as Joshua drinks in the success of one of the greatest bouts of recent memory to take place between two top division stars.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay