Boxing | January 29, 2019

From Wilder, Fury, to Whyte & Miller… Who Will Be AJ’s Next Opponent?

The WBA Super, IBF, WBO, and IBO champion Anthony Joshua is days away from finding out who his next opponent will be.

JD Sports takes a look at which fighters are in contention to fight the unified champion, and the chances of those fights materialising.

1 – Deontay Wilder (WBC heavyweight champion)

RECORD: Total fights‎: ‎41, Wins‎: ‎40, KO‎s: ‎39, Draws: 1

It’s the fight that the world wants to see. Two of the heaviest hitters in boxing, both undefeated, going toe-to-toe. The longer the public wait for the fight to happen, the bigger it becomes. That is unless one of the fighters lose.

Wilder is at the top of AJ’s wish list of potential opponents, and there is only one reason: he has the belt that would unify the division and complete AJ’s quest to become the Undisputed Champion of the World.

Chances of being AJ’s next opponent: 2% – Eddie Hearn has proposed a 60/40 offer to the Bronze Bomber for the April 13th date at Wembley, but is receiving no communication from Wilder’s camp who were disillusioned by the breakdown in talks last year, when AJ fought mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin instead. Additionally, Wilder has a score to settle with Tyson Fury, following their draw which many believe Fury should have won.

2 –  Tyson Fury (FORMER WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight champion)

RECORD: Total fights‎: ‎28, Wins‎: ‎27, KO‎s: ‎19, Draws: 1

The Gypsy King climbed the unclimbable mountain to defeat Wladimir Klitschko in his back garden, and very nearly did the same against Wilder. His character and courage were exemplified by his recovery from a heavy 12th round knockdown against Wilder.

After two and a half years out of the ring, Fury fought Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta and did not appear ready for a World title fight. Despite that, the former champion outboxed the American for the majority of the fight, and would have likely received the decision if he was on home soil.

Chances of being AJ’s next opponent: 13% – Eddie Hearn has also proposed a 60/40 offer to Fury for the April 13th date at Wembley, and has received direct communication back. However, Fury has the rematch with Wilder on the table; a fighter that he believes he has already beaten. Wilder’s unorthodox style means that the only way he can beat Fury is by knockout; something Fury is confident he can avoid.

3 – Dillian Whyte

RECORD: Total fights‎: ‎26, Wins‎: ‎25, KO‎s: ‎18, Lost: 1

The Body Snatcher has suffered just one defeat in his professional career; against AJ, before the Olympic gold medallist went on to capture his World titles. Since then, Whyte has reeled off nine straight wins to put himself in prime position for a shot at the crown.

To add some spice to the potential bout, Whyte defeated AJ by unanimous decision over three rounds in the amateurs. Having fought at the amateurs, and for British titles, both fighters are now in their prime and a World title fight would unquestionably make for box office viewing.

Speaking after Whyte defeated Dereck Chisora, Joshua said: “We know how the list goes, who is one (Deontay Wilder) and two (Tyson Fury). If there’s anyone that deserves a shot, if it isn’t them it’s you (Whyte).”

Chances of being AJ’s next opponent: 50% – Whyte had labelled previous offers from Eddie Hearn as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘childish,’ claiming he was not being offered his true value. Hearn has since increased his offer to Whyte and also represents the Body Snatcher, therefore it will be no surprise if the Wembley date is made with Whyte getting a shot at AJ’s belts.

4 – Jarrell Miller

RECORD: Total fights‎: ‎24, Wins‎: ‎23, KO‎s: ‎20, Draws: 1

If the above fights can’t be made, you can expect AJ to make his US debut against the undefeated brash Brooklyn native Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller. The matchup would represent AJ’s first professional bout outside of the UK and increase his presence in the US/global market.

It would also give the unified champion a chance to settle the score with Miller, who taunted Joshua with a tirade of insults during a press conference to announce the launch of DAZN’s streaming service in the US.

This option would see Joshua forfeit his April 13th date and fight Miller in his back garden at Madison Square Garden in June.

Chances of being AJ’s next opponent: 35% – A legitimate backup plan if the Whyte fight can’t be made and the outside chance of boxing Wilder or Fury is out of reach.

AJ definitely wants the Dillian Whyte fight before he wants my fight. That’s why they’ve given Dillian Whyte such a chance to make the fight,” Miller recently told Sky Sports.

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