Anthony Joshua - Who could the IBF king fight after Molina?
Anthony Joshua steps back into the ring this Saturday to defend his IBF heavyweight belts against American Eric Molina. Molina represents one of the biggest challenges of Joshua’s career, with a decent record of 25-3 with 19KOs, but is still the heavy underdog for this one with experts predicting the Watford-born Joshua will make it 18 wins from as many fights.
There are rumours, should he win this fight, that Joshua will take on former heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko early next year, which would, of course, be a huge step up. But if that fails to materialise, who’s next for the 2012 Olympic gold medallist?
David Haye – likely opponent 7/10
After recently coming out of retirement the former two-weight world champion has made light work of his two comeback opponents, defeating them both inside two rounds. He continues his comeback against WBA Cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew in March – a side-track to his heavyweight return. After that fight, he’ll surely put his efforts back into the heavyweight division where a top five opponent could be on the cards. In interviews, he’s hinted at a domestic showdown with Joshua, stating “Every time I see him, I see holes I can exploit”. This fight would surely smash box office records with the following the two have!
Bermane Stiverne – likely opponent 5/10
The experienced Canadian is highly regarded in the WBC rankings, holding the world title back in 2014 before failing to defend it at the first attempt to current champion Deontay Wilder at the start of last year. He takes on Alexander Povetkin just a week after Joshua fight, where a win could put him into contention for a world title again. With the respectable record of 25-2-1, he could cause problems for Joshua.
Luis Ortiz – likely opponent 6/10
Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz fights on the undercard of Joshua v Molina and would likely fight for the vacant WBA belt if he wins. The Cuban has been around since 2010, amassing the undefeated record of 26-0 with 22 Kos. After fighting relatively unknown boxers for the best part of six years, he looks set to fight for a world title now signed to Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom boxing.
David Price – likely opponent 3/10
Although Price is the most unlikely opponent on our list, the prospect of two British Olympic medallists battling it out for a world title would be huge for the public. The Liverpudlian is on the road back from that horrific knockout at the hands of Erkan Teper last year. But with two dominant wins since then he looks like he’s come back as sharp as ever. Who knows, if he keeps beating the men put in front of him, a world title shot will surely follow. And who doesn’t love a thrilling all-British bout?
Wladimir Klitschko – likely opponent 9/10
As is the world of boxing you can never guarantee two fighters will definitely meet in the ring, just look at what’s happen with Fury v Klitschko 2. Therefore, we’ve given this one a 9/10, meaning it’s highly likely these two will meet early next year. The former heavyweight king, who held the WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO and The Ring titles up until his defeat to Tyson Fury last year, was approached by Hearn to fight Joshua in November but never materialised. After stripping the belts from Tyson Fury, the WBA has finally sanctioned a showdown between Joshua and Klitschko – AND WHAT A FIGHT IT WILL BE!