After Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 56KOs) decided it was time to hang them up instead of taking on Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19KOs) for a second time, the question is where does that leave the heavyweight division?
The biggest star in my opinion and many other keen boxing enthusiasts is the IBF and WBA heavyweight king Anthony Joshua. Eddie Hearn recently made a statement that the number 1 challenger for the IBF title Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13KOs) will be Joshua’s next opponent. We expect an official announcement to be made later this week with the Millennium Stadium a front runner for an October 28th clash.
Hearn maps out AJ opponents
Hearn has also been mapping out Joshua’s next steps if he is to be victorious against Pulev, who I may add has only ever lost to Klitschko. Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37KOs) will be a target for the summer of 2018 but before that Luis Ortiz (27-0, 23KOs) is the challenge at the beginning of the year.
I think he may well be getting a little bit ahead of himself. No doubt the Londoner should be able to beat the 36-year-old Bulgarian but this is the heavyweight division and one shot can change everything very quickly. Not only that but the powers that be may well be calling the shots and mapping out a different route for Joshua, especially if Hearn continues to allow the governing bodies to dictate proceedings.
Sanctioning bodies continue to hurt boxing
The WBA said in January that the winner of Joshua-Klitschko would have to face Ortiz within 120 days of their April 29th bout. That date is now approaching so a decision will need to be made before the September 3rd deadline.
The WBA president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza recently said that he will be holding discussions with the IBF to work out the issue with conflicting mandatory fights, to ensure they take place without affecting any boxers. Maybe those discussions haven’t happened yet as the IBF were due to strip Terrence Crawford after he unified all the belts a couple of weeks ago. Crawford has now vacated that title which shows that these Sanctioning bodies will continue to affect boxers and hurt boxing. All that being said money talks so Hearn will need to chuck a few bob at Ortiz and his cronies to keep them quiet.
Ortiz is making waves
While the big Cuban is pushing for a huge payday against the young Champ he’s also been negotiating a shot at the WBC title currently held by Wilder. Those negotiations were apparently at a progressive stage until Klitschko decided to retire. Therefore Ortiz and his advisers obviously decided to chase the pound note and push through their mandatory status with the WBA.
Now ‘King Kong’s’, trainer Jimenez has decided to run off his gums in an attempt to fish out AJ. Demanding that his fighters mandatory takes precedent over Pulev’s and that Joshua is avoiding the Cuban Southpaw like “a deadly plague”. Also according to the Jimenez they are waiting for the WBA and Joshua to make a decision this week before they decide what to do next. I can only see one outcome and that’s Joshua smoking a fat Cuban early next year.
In an ideal world Ortiz will take the pay-off from Eddie Hearn and then go back to the pursuit of Wilder. Hopefully they will be successful and Wilder can actually fight somebody with real substance. You never know maybe Wilder-Ortiz will happen and then the victor fights the winner of Joshua-Pulev?
To be honest I can’t help but be sceptical. I can see Wilder being fed another ‘cup cake’ as Billy C so rightly puts it while Ortiz waits in the wings for a deserved title shot at AJ.
If I am correct and Wilder decides to rematch Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21KOs) or some other waste man he could find himself being frozen out come next year if he isn’t careful.
Hughie Fury (20-0, 10KOs) defeats the WBO champion Joseph Parker (23-0, 18KOs) when they meet in Manchester on September 23rd. The 22-year-old from Greater Manchester could then be next in line for a summer showdown with Joshua at Wembley and not Wilder.
Hughie Fury’s father Peter confirmed talks with Haymaker Ringstar about a potential meeting between his son and David Haye (28-3, 26KOs) after the Parker fight. This has not gone down well with older cousin Tyson Fury (25-0, 18KOs) who is disappointed that his family are even entertaining the Hayemaker. But if successful he will have a voluntary defence against a top 15 WBO contender which could be Haye?
Haye plays a blinder
No matter what I think of Haye I have to admit he may well have played a blinder here. He has already been in talks about a possible rematch with Bellew which would jump him into the WBO top 15 if he wins. Therefore he could find himself fighting for the WBO title against a beatable opponent and be the man that steps into the ring with Joshua in the summer of 2018.
Personally I don’t see what the fuss is about with David Haye as a heavyweight but the British public seem to still hold him in high regard. Of course this is me playing devil’s advocate but stranger things have happened.
Dillian Whyte (20-1, 15KOs) has been in hot pursuit of Wilder recently but he found out quickly that the big American is not interested. The Brown Bomber will not put his unblemished record on the line against such a dangerous opponent no matter how many millions are thrown at him. The Brixton-based fighter will need to rack up a few more victories until he becomes the number 1 challenger for one of the belts.
One opponent that Whyte should look at is Jarrell Miller (19-0-1, 17KOs) who recently stopped Gerald Washington (18-2-1, 12KOs) on the Broner-Garcia undercard. It would probably be a more eventful build-up then fight but it would be fun to watch with the amount of trash talk these two participate in.
Tyson Fury is another guy that could cause a stir if the British Boxing Board of Control does grant him a licence. He is the only other fighter to have beaten Klitschko and should rightly be in contention. But of course he continues to be a social media whore and has once again announced his retirement.
He is a marmite type of guy; you either like him or hate him. I have to admit that I do like him as he brings something different to the division. Yes, he says some stupid things that are out of line but you can’t argue that he isn’t entertaining? Also the question still remains can he beat Joshua? Only time will tell if the gypsy king will ever return to boxing.
Tony Bellew (29-2-1, 19KOs) still considers himself as a heavyweight and looks likely to negotiate a rematch with Haye. I still think the fight will happen even if Eddie Hearn did say the fight was “dead in the water”, earlier this month because both fighters believe that they are the ‘A side’.
The reason I think it will happen is because the money will be too good to turn down and the British public demand it.
Lastly we have Andre Ward (32-0, 16KOs) who has now thrown his hat into the heavyweight mix. He would not be able to jump straight into a world title shot but a warm-up fight against Bellew at cruiserweight could happen next year after Bellew picks up a big purse against Haye.
Then of course if victorious he could catapult himself into contention for shot at the heavyweight championship of the world.
AJ holds all the cards
All the scenarios and potential match-ups are just predictions and nothing more but there is one thing that is for certain Anthony Joshua holds all the cards. As I mentioned on the Billy C Boxing show a few weeks ago AJ has the power to push for a fight with Wilder instead of taking on one of his mandatory challengers.
The governing bodies may well suggest that he will be stripped of his titles if he opted not to take on one of his mandatory challengers but would they be so daft to strip the Englishman of his titles for such a massive heavyweight fight. I don’t think so and neither do the guys on the show. But I doubt Wilder’s team would even entertain that possibility unless they do decide to cash out on the Brown Bomber.
The fact is AJ is the king and the gel that is holding the division together. Every true fighter wants a shot at him and not only for the mula it brings but for the right to call themselves the best heavyweight in the world.