Anthony Joshua is proving to be one of the most fearsome boxers to ever enter the ring in the last decade.
With a big win over Wladimir Klitschko and 19 other knockouts to add to his name, and along with the IBF and IBO belts in his showroom, there aren’t many realistic candidates left that can even get in a ring with AJ, let alone beat him.
However, before Joshua can really stamp his authority over the boxing greats, he’s still got a few big obstacles in his way. Who can get in a ring with Anthony Joshua but more importantly, who can give him a run for his money?
Pulev was unfortunate not to get his bout with AJ in October, but due to an injury to his shoulder, he wasn’t able to give it a shot. Pulev currently looks like one of AJs biggest contestants in terms of the experience and strength he carries. The big 116 kg Bulgarian has already knocked out more than half of his opponents during his professional career – all of whom have a bit about them, and that would suggest Pulev has a chance of getting the better of AJ. While Pulev doesn’t hold an excellent record when compared to the world champion, what he does have is a lot of energy for a big bloke but more importantly, the motivation to do anyone who steps inside his ring some damage. There’s already talk of this fight being rescheduled at some point in the near future, and the BetVictor boxing odds show Pulev would be backed.
You’re probably wondering why Klitschko is on this list, given that he’s recently retired. Boxers go in and out of retirement all the time and as Klitschko has come the closest to taking away the belts from AJ, he’s one of the few fighters left that can topple him, should he ever think about getting in a ring again. The Ukrainian giant’s time is definitely ticking away, but if he feels retirement isn’t working out for him, and if he can get back into the same shape he was in when he fought AJ, there’s no reason why he can’t be one of the biggest threats to AJ’s promising career. Klitschko is still one of the very best fighters out there, even if he has broken the 40-year-old barrier. With his experience, hefty punching and technical fighting ability, he can almost certainly give AJ another go should he decide to get back into the ring.
If you’re Anthony Joshua you’re probably not worried about too much. But when you look at Ortiz as a boxing spectator, you’d have to feel that he was one of the few boxers that has any chance of knocking AJs chin out of the ring. The bloke doesn’t just have the experience of downing other boxing greats from around the world, but he’s also a bit of a unit that would have almost any boxer quaking in their boots. Ortiz is aggressive, knows when to be defensive, and has that one wonder punch that could put an immediate stop to a moving train. The Cuban beast has a few candidates to quickly dispose of first, but there is talk of him and AJ meeting at some point next year in what would almost definitely be one of the most anticipated fights in boxing history. As of now, Ortiz is no longer mandatory for Joshua, but we all know Joshua would happily get into a ring with anyone who gives it a bit of lip. Both boxers are absolute giants and both love attacking their opponents, so it could be an event that’s worth watching if you’re an avid boxing fan. We’re still unsure of where the event would take place as Joshua hasn’t left his home turf yet, but whether it happens in London or in Cuba, it’s going to be one of the fights of the decade.
He’s probably got one of the biggest mouths in the boxing industry, but he’s one of the few blokes that keeps to his word. He’s already put to bed the likes of Klitschko, so there’s no reason why he shouldn’t have AJ in his sights. Unfortunately for Fury, he’s let his lifestyle get the better of him and he hasn’t got into a professional ring for nearly two years now. There’s plenty of strong talk going around at the moment about Eddie Hearn having meetings with Fury’s representatives about a possible fight next year. However, Fury still has to bypass his drug and boxing license ban, but if he can get that out the way in the next few months, AJ has already stated he would be well up to the task of putting down the big Irish mouth.
It’s not just the bans that have to be lifted for him to regain his boxing license either, as he’ll also need to ensure his fitness is top notch. It would be hard to see Fury in a ring anytime soon given his circumstances, but if he buckled down and really wanted it, there would be nothing stopping him from having a good go at AJ at some point next year. Of course, we’ll still see Tyson shouting his mouth off from time to time which is usually entertaining enough, but an encounter with AJ next year would almost certainly be the one to watch.
Joseph Parker is probably one of the biggest names in boxing at the moment, and is the WBO titleholder, so an AJ vs Parker affair could well be on the cards next year. The New Zealand man has always had a love for boxing ever since he put on his gloves when he was 4 years old, so he has plenty of youth experience to take with him into the ring. They’ve both already started to exchange words to get the fans hyped, so it looks like a sure thing in the near future. AJ will definitely have his work cut out against this 6’ 4” monster, though, so he’ll need to ensure he’s at his absolute best to keep his record rolling. What would make this event even more special is that both fighters have a clean record of more than 20 wins and 0 losses. Joshua has a better knockout ratio of 100% in 20 fights, but Parker has still knocked out 18 of his 24 opponents which will make this fight very tasty. This fight isn’t a matter of if it will happen, it’s a matter of when, so hold onto your seats.
There will always be talk about whether Mr. Hearn is organising the right fights for AJ. There’s even talk about whether he’s just giving him easy competitors because he seems to dance around the ring without much worry on his face. With that being said, AJ has got in the ring and done the business better than anyone that’s tried standing in his way. AJ is currently the best fighter out there, but until he can topple the above opponents, he’ll have to wait until he can become a legend like some of the other British greats that have graced the ring.