Boxing News: Who could Anthony Joshua fight after Andy Ruiz Jr - SIX options

Express

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30.04.2019 11:58

Miller has since been suspended for six months by the WBA, leaving Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn searching for a replacement fighter to step in on short notice.That search now appears to have come to an end with an opponent set to be announced for Joshua in the form of American heavyweight Andy Ruiz Jr. Ruiz Jr is a 33 fight veteran who has won 21 of his bouts by knockout and only suffered a solitary loss on points to previous Joshua opponent Joseph Parker.Hearn has said the 29-year-old Californian is “close” to finalising the deal and it will be Ruiz Jr’s second fight this year after the man nicknamed ‘The Destroyer’ defeated German fighter Alexander Dimitrenko on April 20.

WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion Joshua has long been chasing a unification bout with WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder and has been repeatedly challenged by lineal champion Tyson Fury.However, both Wilder and Fury currently have fights lined up against Dominic Breazeale and Tom Schwarz respectively and, despite fan demand, it seems as though a blockbuster clash against either fighter is not likely to happen any time soon for Joshua.All three heavyweight giants have recently signed lucrative and exclusive deals with separate American broadcasters in a move which has made the chances of potential fights between the three even more remote. Joshua is signed to streaming service DAZN, Wilder has chosen to stick with Showtime and Fury has inked a five-fight deal with ESPN.Now that Joshua’s new opponent for his American debut is all but confirmed, fans will naturally start to wonder what is next for the the 29-year-old champion.

Given the unlikelihood of a fight between Joshua and either Wilder or Fury, Express Sport brings you the rundown on six potential opponents for Anthony Joshua following his Madison Square Garden bout on 1 June.Dillian WhyteLongtime Joshua rival Dillian Whyte has made no secret of his desire for a rematch with the man who handed him his only professional loss to date back in December 2015.Whyte has repeatedly challenged his compatriot and the two even faced off in the ring after Whyte’s knockout victory over Dereck Chisora back in 2018.However, a rematch has since failed to materialise and, despite Whyte stating he would be willing to step in as Jarrell Miller’s replacement, the 31-year-old heavyweight is set for a bout with Colombian fighter Oscar Rivas at the O2 on 20 July.Should Whyte defeat Rivas, he will cement his spot as the number one ranked challenger to Joshua’s WBO title and it would be no surprise if a clash between Joshua and Whyte is made next.

Wladimir KlitschkoLegendary heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko may have had his last fight two years ago in an epic war with Joshua but the 43-year-old veteran has sparked rumours of a rematch with a recent post on Twitter.Klitschko posted a picture of himself and Joshua on the anniversary of their April 29th bout at Wembley with the caption: “Although, I didn’t win the titles on April 29th 2017, for me, it was one of my best days in my long boxing career (so far). Thanks @anthonyfjoshua for being the perfect opponent and part of my obsession to become a champion again! #obsessed”The Ukranian enjoyed an 11 year unbeaten streak between October 2004 and November 2015 and remains Joshua’s biggest test to date, having knocked down the British fighter in the sixth round of their first fight before AJ scored a TKO victory in the 11th round.Dr Steelhammer is said to be weighing up a lucrative £69million, three-fight offer from DAZN who reportedly have included a rematch with Joshua as part of the deal.

Luis OrtizCuban southpaw Luis Ortiz was one of the names on Eddie Hearn’s list of potential Jarrell Miller replacements but the fight fell through after failed negotiations between Hearn and Ortiz’s promoters.Ortiz is a former WBC title challenger having lost to Deontay Wilder by TKO in March 2018 in the only defeat of his career so far.Hearn has claimed that he offered more than £5million for Ortiz to replace Miller and said a fight with Ortiz after June 1 would be “no problem”.However, Ortiz is also rumoured to be set for a rematch with Wilder once The Bronze Bomber has faced Dominic Breazeale, so it will be interesting to see which titleholder Ortiz goes up against.

Oleksandr UsykFormer undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk will make his heavyweight debut on 25 May against Carlos Takam and has his sights firmly set on Joshua.Usyk decided to switch weight classes following his knockout victory over Tony Bellew last November, a defeat which saw Bellew retire afterwards.A bout between Joshua and Usyk has previously been called “inevitable” by Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk and should the Ukranian make the step-up to heavyweight with relative ease, Eddie Hearn is certain the two will meet “by spring 2020”.With Hearn now co-promoting the 32-year-old Usyk, expect to see a fight between the two in the near future provided Usyk impresses in his upcoming clash with Takam

David PriceLiverpudlian David Price believes he is “two wins away from Anthony Joshua” and AJ has previously admitted that Price dropped him in a 2010 sparring session.The 35-year-old is set to fight fellow British heavyweight Dave Allen at the O2 Arena on 20 July and, should he beat Allen, Price may well be next in line to face off against Joshua.Price has previously put his name forward to challenge Joshua as far back as 2014 but AJ ended up fighting Eric Molina instead in a three-round TKO victory.Now entering the twilight of his career, Price has had to battle back from multiple devastating defeats and the 6ft 8 giant would certainly make for an interesting fight provided he defeats Allen in July.

Kubrat PulevBulgarian fighter Kubrat Pulev was previously set to fight Joshua in October 2017 as the mandatory IBF challenger before a shoulder injury suffered in sparring forced him to pull out.Since the failed Joshua fight, Pulev has defeated Tyson Fury’s cousin Hughie and Romanian boxer Bogdan Dinu and remains optimistic of a showdown with AJ.Pulev is currently suspended by the California State Athletic Commission after forcibly kissing female reporter Jenny Ravalo after his win over Dinu but Pulev remains the number one ranked IBF heavyweight contender.Clearly both parties are willing to fight each other and should the IBF order Joshua into a mandatory defence against Pulev then that fight may finally happen.

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