Joshua vs Klitschko: Potential opponents from Fury to Bellew

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Anthony Joshua established himself as the world’s leading heavyweight when he stopped Wladimir Klitschko in 11 rounds at Wembley.

Adding the WBA belt to his IBF title, the 27-year-old overcame his biggest threat and will become even more of a target for his rivals.

Here, we look at five potential opponents for his next fight.

DEONTAY WILDER

A fight between Joshua and America’s WBC heavyweight champion Wilder, 31, would likely prove the richest in the heavyweight division.

The combination of two charismatic, explosive punchers would appeal both in the UK and the US, but may have such commercial potential that they would choose to delay until next summer.

Wilder was ringside at Wembley, but has also been linked to fighting Tony Bellew.

JOSEPH PARKER

New Zealand’s WBO champion Parker carries less threat and appeal than Wilder but also represents less of a risk.

The 25-year-old had been scheduled to fight Tyson Fury’s cousin Hughie until injury ruled the challenger out, and is one of only two fighters against which a unification match-up could be made.

WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO

The 41-year-old has already revealed he has a rematch clause he can take advantage of, and that only another showdown with Joshua is capable of convincing him to fight on.

Joshua has also already said he would be willing to fight the Ukrainian again, but beyond financial gain there seems little benefit for the champion.

Having already beaten him so entertainingly, Klitschko represents a high-risk, low-reward opponent.

TYSON FURY

Immediately after his defeat of Klitschko, Joshua called out the fighter who is quickly becoming his biggest rival.

The 28-year-old Fury unsurprisingly responded on Twitter, writing “challenge accepted”.

Both seem confident of victory and willing to fight each other, both have beaten Klitschko and both represent the other’s most intriguing opponent within the UK.

Fury’s biggest challenge could yet come in regaining his boxing licence amid his struggles with depression.

TONY BELLEW

The former WBC cruiserweight champion’s unexpected defeat of David Haye has given him far more appeal in the heavyweight division than any would have predicted.

He seems incapable of providing Joshua with much of a test, but the money involved in fighting the champion will become such that any potential offers will be tempting.

A match-up between the two is also straightforward to make, given they are both promoted by Matchroom.

The biggest question may be whether Matchroom would rather use the 34-year-old Liverpudlian to further build Wilder’s reputation before the American eventually fights Joshua.

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko: Five things learned from stunning heavyweight clash

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In addition to establishing himself as the world’s leading heavyweight by defeating Wladimir Klitschko, Anthony Joshua answered so many of the questions surrounding his ability.

Concerns had persisted that this fight would prove too soon for him, but his knockout victory finally justified his billing as the heavyweight of the future.

Here, we analyse five things learned from Saturday’s fight at Wembley Stadium.

JOSHUA IS THE REAL DEAL

He was perhaps fortunate to win his Olympic gold medal at London 2012, and also became the IBF heavyweight champion in kind circumstances.

However his defeat of Klitschko, which also earned him the WBA title, came after he had had to prove his heart by recovering from an exceptionally-heavy sixth-round knockdown.

Joshua long appeared on the verge of defeat, and was struggling to dominate his experienced opponent, before transforming the fight and his career with that outstanding uppercut in the 11th round.

JOSHUA HAS STAMINA

Concerns surrounding Joshua’s potential largely surrounded whether he had the stamina to last into the so-called championship rounds.

He had never previously fought beyond the seventh, but against Klitschko – a seasoned 12-round fighter – after having been knocked down, he gradually recovered to increase his intensity in the final rounds, leading to the impressive stoppage.

KLITSCHKO IS FAR FROM FINISHED

He may not be the fighter he was at his exceptional peak, and he will decline further as a consequence of such a bruising fight, but – beyond Joshua and Tyson Fury – it would be difficult to argue against him beating any of the world’s other leading heavyweights.

From the point of his recovery from the first knockdown to the 11th-round stoppage, he used his experience, intelligence and a wide variety of skills to outbox the champion. Joshua deserves significant credit for this victory.

HEAVYWEIGHT BOXING CAN AGAIN THRIVE

Throughout their dominance of the division from the point of Lennox Lewis’ retirement, the Klitschko brothers Wladimir and Vitali were long considered responsible for how dull heavyweight boxing became.

They won almost every fight they were involved in with such ease, and so little drama, that many of their match-ups were widely overlooked.

It is far from their problem that so few challenged them, but there have also been false dawns, such as the revival briefly threatened by David Haye.

With an exciting fighter like Joshua now the leading champion, and rivals like Deontay Wilder and Fury capable of excelling, the division has its most appeal since Lewis’ peak.

JOSHUA HAS COMPOSURE

Composure is perhaps the most underrated asset any fighter can have, and Joshua demonstrated it in abundance.

Carl Froch recently spoke of how on the long ringwalk at Wembley it is easy for a fighter to struggle mentally.

Joshua remained a relaxed figure throughout his, did not panic when he was knocked down, and resisted the urge to go toe-to-toe – buying himself time to recover and slowing the action down – until sensing the right moment to pursue the knockout. Such clear thinking will serve him well.

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Fury responds to Joshua challenge

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Tyson Fury responded to Anthony Joshua calling him out immediately after his victory over Wladimir Klitschko by saying “challenge accepted”.

Joshua established himself as the world’s leading heavyweight by adding the WBA belt to his IBF title with a dramatic 11th-round stoppage of Klitschko in front of an estimated 90,000 crowd at Wembley Stadium.

The defeat was Klitschko’s second in succession, having been beaten on points by Fury in November 2015, and an all-British fight between Joshua and undefeated former world champion Fury – should the latter ever return to boxing – could prove even bigger.

“(Tyson) Fury where you at, baby?” Joshua said while still in the ring.

“I love fighting. Tyson Fury, I know he’s been talking, I want to give 90,000 a chance (to see us), I just want to fight.”

Fury has been inactive since his defeat of Klitschko having most recently struggled with depression, but he has remained a consistent presence on social media.

Following Joshua’s comments in the wake of Saturday’s win, Fury took to Twitter:

Fury last year surrendered the world heavyweight titles he won by beating Klitschko in an effort to focus on his mental health problems.

The 28-year-old has won all 25 of his professional fights so far, 18 by knockout.

Joshua, meanwhile, now boasts a perfect 19-0 record following his win over Klitschko, with all of the 27-year-old’s victories coming inside the distance.

* From Press Association

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