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‘He’s Back’: What’s Next for Anthony Joshua?

'He’s Back': What's Next for Anthony Joshua?

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‘He’s Back’: What’s Next for Anthony Joshua?


‘He’s Back’: What’s Next for Anthony Joshua?

On Saturday, December 23, Anthony Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) dominated Otto Wallin (26-2, 14 KOs) as the co-main event for “Day of Reckoning” at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaAJ was tipped to defeat Wallin by us at Big Fight Weekend. After this impressive win, Eddie Hearn spoke on the performance of AJ, and said: “He’s back,” as attention now turns to who could be the next opponent for the British fighter.

The Future for Anthony Joshua

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Recap of Joshua vs. Wallin

AJ quickly took control of the fight and showed serious intent, using his jab to keep the distance before following through with right crosses. It was an effective tactic, which ensured he controlled the tempo of the fight from the first round.
Joshua switched between the body and head effectively with his jab, with his Swedish opponent unable to get any foothold in the fight. There was plenty of oohing and aahing from the crowd every time the British fighter threw a punch.

AJ was picking up the rounds in dominant fashion, including at the start of the fifth round, where a cross-shot, followed by a huge left hook, visibly hurt the Swede. AJ sensed the stoppage was near and attacked with spite. Wallin retreated to his corner at the end of the round, where his coach decided to end the fight. After the fight Eddie Hearn was asked about the performance of Joshua: “He’s back. Ben Davison and the team told me he was back.”

Filip Hrgović

A potential fight for the IBF world heavyweight title is a real possibility, confirmed after the fight by Hearn, who said: “It will be Hrgović against AJ for the world title (IBF).

Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk is scheduled to happen on February 17 for the undisputed WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO titles. Fury and Usyk have signed a two-way rematch agreement, which guarantees a rematch, with the IBF belt likely to be vacated before the second bout, with it not being possible to fight the mandatory.

AJ was dominant under the tutelage of Ben Davison against Wallin, and it remains to be seen if he remains in the camp for a potential world title fight against Hrgović. At 1.98 m, the Croatian fighter uses his size well and keeps coming forward, proving against Zhang he can fight off the back foot when required. Joshua will need to employ similar tactics as he did against Wallin and use his jab and fast hand speed to bamboozle his opponent.

Zhilei Zhang

Zhilei Zhang is fully in the mix – when talking about big fights in the heavyweight division. He impressed in his dominant rematch victory against Joe Joyce and is a realistic future opponent for AJ.

The Chinese heavyweight is accurate with his punches and throws everything with spite. His destructive stoppages of Joyce shows he would be a live threat against Joshua. Zhang has a strong chin and will need to be defensively solid to withstand the guaranteed heavy shots from AJ. It will be imperative that Joshua utilises his jab and moves well to avoid the heavy hooks from “Big Bang.”

Deontay Wilder

Deontay Wilder also appeared on “Day of Reckoning” but was defeated by a dominant Joseph Parker. Wilder could not get going during the 12 rounds, as the South Auckland-born fighter outboxed his American opponent and seemed to hurt “The Bronze Bomber” on more than one occasion. 

Eddie Hearn confirmed after the fight: “I’ll be honest, we were due to announce Deontay Wilder in the ring for March.” This agreement was reported by Dan Rafael days before but was contingent on neither losing. It appears the fight between AJ and Wilder has never been further away – but if it were to occur, it seems difficult to look past a dominant Joshua win following both fighter’s performances in Saudi Arabia.

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Freelance Writer and Digital Marketer, spending most of his time waiting for the Tyson Fury vs Usyk announcement. Also watches YouTube videos of Lennox Lewis fights on a daily basis.

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