Anthony Joshua has made it clear that his goal in the sport is to regain a heavyweight world title to become a three-time champion.
The Olympic Gold Medalist won his first world honours against Charles Martin back in 2016 – his 16th fight – and would go on to collect two more major belts against Wladimir Klitschko and Joseph Parker.
Joshua’s first, albeit brief, stint without those titles came in 2019 when Andy Ruiz Jr produced a shock stoppage in New York. ‘AJ’ regained his champion status in an immediate rematch less than six months later.
He would not do the same when it came to Oleksandr Usyk, who beat the Brit twice to move on as unified and leave Joshua licking his wounds.
Usyk has recently announced that an undisputed bout with Tyson Fury, who holds the WBC belt, is signed and will take place either this December or early next year.
Although there is no official date, details about the contract are now being reported. One major clause is that of a rematch available to the loser should he want it, as per ESPN.
The story also touches on Usyk’s mandatory situation. Next up is the IBF’s Filip Hrgovic, and the sanctioning body has confirmed that the winner of the undisputed fight must face the Croatian heavyweight immediately.
If not, the belt will become vacant and Hrgovic will be ordered to face the next ranked contender – currently Anthony Joshua.
It was the IBF belt that ‘AJ’ won against Martin seven years ago. Hrgovic is co-promoted by Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn, who handles Joshua’s career too.
With that said, Joshua’s rankings may be affected before that time comes. His team is still angling for a fight with fellow former champion, Deontay Wilder – a test that many believe will be the toughest for Joshua in some time.
Swedish southpaw and former Fury opponent, Otto Wallin, will move above Joshua to number two in the IBF’s next update following his win over Murat Gassiev, meaning the Brit will have to fight in an attempt to move up. Wilder is currently ranked number four.
If the WBC follows suit and decides to make its belt vacant should there be a second Fury-Usyk fight, Joshua sits at number two just behind Wilder in those rankings. He is also number three with the WBA, and one with the WBO behind Interim Champion, Zhilei Zhang.