Anthony Joshua: Who’s Next
We have a date, we have a venue, but no opponent as yet for the next PPV extravaganza involving Anthony Joshua. At Wembley Stadium on April 13th Joshua will have fight number 23 and a less than orderly queue is forming to be the next opponent to try to inflict the first professional defeat on Joshua.
SkyBet have interesting and very telling odds on who will be that opponent. The cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk is 8-1 to be that man. Usyk who is coming off the win over Tony Bellew will move to heavyweight in 2019 but it is far too soon for Usyk to be considered for Joshua. Usyk will have a couple of tune-up fights at heavyweight to acclimatise to the new weight. While there is always the chance Usyk could lose or struggle in such fights and kill or dampen the anticipation for a Joshua vs Usyk fight, careful matchmaking will lessen the chance of that occurring.
Tyson Fury deserved more than the judges gave him against Deontay Wilder, but despite a Joshua vs Fury fight being obviously extremely lucrative, I would be astonished if it happens anytime soon. With Fury being with Eddie Hearn’s main UK rival Frank Warren the odds should be a lot longer. While money often makes friends of the best of enemies, there are less complicated options in the immediate future. If Fury secures the rematch with Wilder and wins, that position will surely change and makes Joshua vs Fury far more likely, having a belt will help his cause.
The unbeaten Jarrell Miller is a very short 9/4, but despite being with Matchroom, I see Miller more likely to be opponent number two in 2019 for Joshua and probably in America. Miller just needs building a little more, a win over a highly ranked fellow contender will achieve that.
Wilder would be most people’s pick for Joshua, especially as it would fully unify the world heavyweight titles. The likelihood of it happening really depends on the confidence of the people behind Wilder have in their man. Will they see the performance against Fury as a man ready to be taken and decide to cash-out and make the big money fight with Joshua before someone else beats Wilder and the fight is then dead in the water. Mandatories and boxing politics I feel will see the fight assigned to the what could have happened list, sadly as much as it’s the right fight to make I just don’t see it getting signed sealed and delivered.
That leaves Dillian Whyte, with the best recent resume of all the current crop of heavyweight contenders, Whyte is certainly deserving of the opportunity to rematch with Joshua. They have previous history that will sell to the masses, and being in the same camp obviously makes the negotiations far less complicated.
The bookies rarely get it wrong and I think they are right again, come April, Dillian Whyte will be in the opposite corner to Joshua.
Dillian Whyte 4/6
Jarrell Miller 9/4
Deontay Wilder 4/1
Tyson Fury 6/1
Oleksandr Usyk 8/1