Written By Bakari Simpson: When former heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko recently retired, he shook up the division. Not that he was as dominant as he had been. Klitschko was coming off two back-to-back loses. Even worse, the subsequent manner in which he lost intensified negatively. Dr. Steelhammer first lost to Tyson Fury by decision. Next, against Anthony Joshua, Klitschko would be defeated by way of knockout.
Being the man that he is, exiting from the sport on such a dominated note did not sit well with Wlad. For some time, Klitschko flirted with the idea of exercising his rematch clause with Joshua. Yet, in the end, Wlad decided to hang up the gloves. This decision to discontinue his fighting career came as joyous news to many.
Despite the highly competitive nature of the first bout, few believe that Wlad would claim the rematch. It’s largely believed that Klitschko performed the best he could and still came up short. Therefore, for this section of individuals, staging a rematch would be a colossal waste of time.
However, Wlad’s stepping out-of-the-way opened a floodgate for potential adversaries. Suddenly, Joshua has become the unwitting star of his own personal “Smoking Aces” type minefield. As the WBA, IBO and IBF heavyweight champion of the world Anthony Joshua has major league problems. Ever since he annexed the IBF belt from eclectic Charles Martin, Anthony Joshua has been a pursued man.
Generally, the fans and his supporters see his size, strength and marketability. His fellow heavyweights see a relatively green champion, who’s ripe for the picking.
Leading the pack Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz have repeatedly made this fight wish publicly known. Currently, Deontay Wilder, the WBC heavyweight champion, has the least bargaining power. Despite his poor legal positioning Deontay has regularly challenged AJ via social media outlets. Ortiz has continuously expressed his desire to lace up the gloves with the UK sensation as well.
While Deontay is the odd man out legally speaking, Ortiz stands on much firmer ground. Luis is the mandatory for Joshua’s WBA strap. Kubrat Pulev is the mandatory for Anthony’s IBF belt. The WBA and IBF have both ordered these matches to be made. Obviously, AJ cannot fight two men at once, so there is clarification needed.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has emerged to give structure to this bubbling situation.
“Obviously we now have to fight Pulev and Ortiz and it’s going to be a tough balancing act. The Pulev mandatory was called some time ago and we already have signed correspondence that if it’s not Klitschko then Pulev must be next. I would say right now the plan is Pulev, Ortiz then if Wilder still has a belt then AJ can relieve him of that next summer. AJ is 100 percent up for fighting Pulev, 100 per cent up for fighting Ortiz and 100 percent up for fighting Wilder and he wants to do it in a way to try and capture all belts. It’s going to be difficult but let me tell you this young man fears no one.” -Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing
All in all this is very promising! One way or another Anthony Joshua is about to be very busy and very challenged. If Hearn’s plan comes to fruition, this time next year Joshua will be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Yet this will be no small task! One cannot assume that Anthony will topple any of these three let alone ALL three. And back-to-back at that? Geez, that’s a rough workload!
Although this proposed task is a daunting one for Joshua it’s also a thrilling one.
For so long the heavyweight division was dormant, now it’s exploding with more action that can be quickly put together. These are good times and I simply can’t wait to hear the next Joshua fight announcement!
Finishing up training earlier… so I’m prepared for later 💥-Anthony Joshua #AJBXNG
Bakari Simpson INSTAGRAM: @s.larry_love FACEBOOK: Bakari Simpson