By Barry Holbrook: Anthony Joshua has his work cut out for him to try and become a three-time heavyweight champion at this stage in his ten-year career.
Assuming Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) doesn’t lose his next two fights against Jermaine Franklin on April 1st and Dillian Whyte in July, there’s a good chance he’ll fight for a world title in December against either Tyson Fury or possibly for a vacant title if the belts get fragmented.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is confident that he will maneuver him into a position to become world champion again, but it doesn’t look promising. Hearn has the money to lure a champion to give Joshua a title shot, just as he did with Charles Martin years ago.
How Joshua becomes a three-time champ
- Stay patient
- Wait for titles to be vacated
- Target weak champions
- Be willing to wait years
- Don’t give up
Whether Joshua can win another world title for the remainder of his career will depend on whether he’s willing to wait three to five years for the belts to become fragmented.
AJ has already lost to IBF, WBA & WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk twice, and it would seem pointless to fight him a third time, even with his new trainer Derrick James retooling his game.
Joshua probably won’t beat WBC champ Tyson Fury because he doesn’t possess the technical skills or the conditioning for would be a very difficult fight. The good news is Fury will likely retire soon, so Joshua won’t need to worry about him in two to three years.
The heavyweight division has gotten much better than it was when he first captured a world title in 2016 against IBF champion Charles Martin, and there aren’t any weak champs for Joshua to win a world title right now.
Unless Joshua is given a chance to fight for a vacant belt against a beatable contender, he would most likely need to fight a solid fighter like Joe Joyce. That’s a bad match-up for Joshua because ‘The Juggernaut’ would push a pace that would quickly wear him out.
“I think if Anthony Joshua can’t step up to the plate and demolish his next two fights, he diminishes the case for being at the table of Tyson Fury,” said Simon Jordan to talkSPORT Boxing. “I think he already got to that table and go beat.
“If he gets hit by Deontay Wilder, he’s gone. If he gets put in with Deontay Wilder, it’s a problem.
“If he goes up against Andy Ruiz again, who I think is now far better than he was and seemingly back in the groove again, I think he’s got a problem. I think he’s got a world of problems against Joe Joyce, so I don’t know where he wins a world title,” said Jordan.
“I think he definitely can beat Usyk,” said Spencer Oliver when asked who Joshua can beat to win a world title.