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Hearns ponders three challengers for Anthony Joshua’s titles


England’s Anthony Joshua clebrates beating USA’s Eric Molina during the IBF World Heavyweight Championship boxing match in Manchester, north-west England on December 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS

IBF/WBA heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua’s promoter, Barry Hearn, plans on meeting with the world champion to discuss his next fight. Hearn has three possible opponents for Joshua to pick from and they are as follows: WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller and WBA mandatory Alexander Povetkin.

The fight the boxing public wants to see is Joshua vs. Wilder, but that might not be the fight that Hearn wants. He’s keen on Joshua fighting 29-year-old Miller. It’s a fight that will create a lot of buzz due to Miller’s PR skills. He’ll do all the talking in the weeks leading up to the fight, and Joshua can hang in the background and let him do all the work.

The No.1 option for Joshua’s next fight is against Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs), and that would be a two-fight deal with the first match taking place in the United Kingdom, and the second in the U.S. That by far is the hardest fight of the three to make. Wilder’s management recently offered Joshua $50 million for a fight, but promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing is still trying to find out whether the offer is legitimate. If it’s not, then that makes a fight between AJ and Wilder unlikely to be next unless there’s some movement from the American fighters’ team in agreeing to the flat fee $12.5 million offer made by Hearn a few weeks ago. Wilder is probably not going to agree to just $12.5 million to fight Joshua, because his management believes it’s a $100 million fight.

Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller (21-0-1, 18 KOs) is the second option for Joshua. That fight would be in the U.S in New York, the hometown of ‘Big Baby.’ Hearn believes that staging a fight between Joshua and Miller in the U.S will help create more interest in a later fight between Joshua and Wilder.

If Joshua takes the Miller fight next, he could be stripped potentially by the World Boxing Association for not fighting the WBA mandatory Alexander Povetkin, who the WBA has already ordered Joshua to fight. The way that Miller looked against Duhaupas, he won’t last long against Joshua. The third option for Joshua is Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs). If that fight happens next, the match will take place at either Old Trafford or Wembley Stadium.

If Hearn drags out the Joshua-Wilder fight like many believe he will, then Povetkin will be Joshua’s next fight in the summer followed by Miller at the end of the year in New York. Joshua will then face Wilder at the start of 2019.

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Anthony JoshuaBarry Hearn
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