Anthony Joshua has a packed schedule over the next two years as another mandatory defense was added to the mix in Brooklyn last night.
An unexpected win for Robert Helenius over Adam Kownacki last night saw the ‘Nordic Nightmare’ earn a shot at a final eliminator for the WBA heavyweight title.
Helenius stopped Kownacki on the New Yorker’s home turf, ending an undefeated record which many suggested would end in a championship chance.
Not to be for Kownacnki as Helenius earned his potential crack at Joshua in the future.
Before that, Joshua has an IBF stipulation against Kubrat Pulev on June 20th to deal with. AJ then has to fight Oleksander Usyk by the fall.
Add to that the fact ex-foe Charles Martin, who Joshua dominated and crushed early to win his first title belt, recently won an IBF eliminator for the number two spot.
This means Martin, the same as Helenius, is potentially one win or a ratification away from being Joshua’s mandatory for early 2021.
It could be a busy eighteen months for Britain’s number two heavyweight.
Current number one Tyson Fury is the main target for Joshua, but several lengths of red tape may have to be negotiated in order for the contest to get approval.
Delays have already been lengthy since Joshua picked out Andy Ruiz Jr. as his next challenge in April 2019, only to lose all his straps.
Six months later, Joshua won them back. But in the process added another six-month wait to Pulev and Usyk mandatories.
It was expected that Joshua would drop one of his titles in order to ease the backlog of stipulations, although Fury’s WBC championship win over Wilder meant promoter Eddie Hearn wanted his man to keep them all intact for a possible undisputed unification.
How Joshua is going to fit that in when Pulev, Usyk, Helenius, and Martin are all waiting is anyone’s guess.
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman has already explained to World Boxing News that Fury doesn’t have any obligations to them until February 2021.
Fury has to face Dillian Whyte. Or at least signal his intentions to fight his Brit rival by then. Therefore, Fury can battle Wilder and Joshua in the interim.
Joshua, on the other hand, probably had to have promised the WBO he’ll one hundred percent tackle Usyk next in order to not be stripped.
So, eager fans hoping for Fury vs Joshua in the next twelve months will certainly be disappointed.
In all honesty, it’s likely to be the summer of 2021 at the very least before the fight can happen.
With Fury needed to address the Whyte situation, and AJ having Pulev, Usyk and possibly Helenius to deal with before then, it could be eighteen months at least until the UK super-fight makes it over the line.
Stating his desire to retire in two fights, Fury could have his gloves hung up by then.
June 2020 – Kubrat Pulev
November 2020 – Oleksandr Usyk
April 2021 – Robert Helenius
September 2021 – Tyson Fury
March 2022 – Charles Martin II
July 2020 – Deontay Wilder
December 2020 – Dillian Whyte
May – Retirement or Voluntary
September – Retirement or Anthony Joshua