Las Vegas, China Or Dubai: What Next For World Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua?

Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua at Wembley Stadium, London, December 14, 2016. Joshua is planning his next fight, the 20th of his career. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty

Anthony Joshua is contemplating his next move. Where and, most importantly, who he fights next are the two main questions facing the unified heavyweight champion of the world.

Picking the opponent could, possibly, be taken out of his hands. Wladimir Klitschko, the 41-year-old Ukrainian who Joshua stopped in the 11th round at Wembley Stadium in April, has the option of a rematch. He can take his crown back.

But, otherwise, Joshua will be able to plot his next move as he targets unifying the division and holding the belts from each organization. American Deontay Wilder and New Zealand’s Joseph Parker stand in his way. Wilder, the WBC champion, has a perfect record of 38 wins and 37 knockouts, while WBO holder Parker has 23 wins from 23 bouts.

The other possibility for Joshua is an all-British affair. The last man to fight and conquer Klitschko was Tyson Fury back in November 2015, but he hasn’t been in the ring since.

Fury, nicknamed “the gypsy king,” relinquished the WBA, WBO, IBO titles he took from Klitschko after reportedly failing a drugs test just days before a scheduled rematch. He awaits the hearing of his case with UK Anti-Doping but is aiming to make his return to the ring this summer.

Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, expects the decision to be made for him. He says, as quoted by The Times, that Klitschko is likely to force a second fight, which could take place in November.

But where? “October 28 is an option in Cardiff,” Hearn said, “but October is a little bit early, as Josh has a bit of a sore shoulder and Klitschko has had a tough fight.

“I don’t want it to go to December. November is perfect so we are looking at the MGM [Grand], China, Dubai as options.” The bright lights of Las Vegas await. Joshua, who has only ever fought in the U.K., looks set to take his heavyweight domination abroad.