On Saturday night at Wembley, Anthony Oluwafemi Joshua established himself as the world’s leading heavyweight champion when he stopped Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in 11 rounds at Wembley.
Adding the WBA belt to his IBF title, the 27-year-old overcame his biggest threat and will become even more of a target for his rivals. Press Association Sport x-rays five potential opponents for his next fight.
A fight between Joshua and America’s WBC heavyweight champion Wilder, 31, would likely prove the richest in the heavyweight division. The combination of two charismatic, explosive punchers would appeal both in the UK and the US, but may have such commercial potential that they would choose to delay until next summer. Wilder was ringside at Wembley, but has also been linked to fighting Tony Bellew.
New Zealand’s WBO champion Parker carries less threat and appeal than Wilder but also represents less of a risk. The 25-year-old had been scheduled to fight Tyson Fury’s cousin Hughie until injury ruled the challenger out, and is one of only two fighters against which a unification match-up could be made.
The 41-year-old has already revealed he has a rematch clause he can take advantage of, and that only another showdiown with Joshua is capable of convincing him to fight on. Joshua has also already said he would be willing to fight the Ukrainian again, but beyond financial gain there seems little benefit for the champion. Having already beaten him so entertainingly, Klitschko represents a high-risk, low-reward opponent.
Immediately after his defeat of Klitschko, Joshua called out the fighter who is quickly becoming his biggest rival. The 28-year-old Fury unsurprisingly responded on Twitter, writing “challenge accepted”. Both seem confident of victory and willing to fight each other, both have beaten Klitschko and both represent the other’s most intriguing opponent within the UK. Fury’s biggest challenge could yet come in regaining his boxing licence amid his struggles with depression.
The former WBC cruiserweight champion’s unexpected defeat of David Haye has given him far more appeal in the heavyweight division than any would have predicted. He seems incapable of providing Joshua with much of a test, but the money involved in fighting the champion will become such that any potential offers will be tempting. A match-up between the two is also straightforward to make, given they are both promoted by Matchroom.