Anthony Joshua’s Next Fights – What Happens To AJ If He Loses To Pulev?Published on: December 8, 2020Author: Dave Kuzio
What if AJ loses his belts again?
Anthony Joshua puts his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles on the line against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev on December 12 at The SSE Arena, and although I am expecting Joshua to win quite comfortably, there is still a slight possibility that things won’t go to plan.
Upsets are quite common in the world of boxing, and AJ knows that more than most. Back in June 2019, Joshua suffered a shock loss at the hands of relatively unknown Andy Ruiz Jr. That defeat sent shockwaves around the world, thankfully for AJ he went on to regain his title when they med for a second time in Saudi Arabia.
Since that defeat Joshua has looked more focused and determined to remain heavyweight champion of the world, but things do not always go according to script. Both Daniel Dubois and Anthony Yarde were recently heavily backed to win their respective fights against Joe Joyce and Lyndon Arthur.
Unexpected defeats can really shake up a division, so let’s just say that Joshua is dropped by Pulev and becomes the new heavyweight champion of the world, where does that leave AJ heading into 2021.
Kubrat Pulev Rematch
This one is very easy to predict. If Anthony Joshua is unable to defeat Pulev on Saturday, there will be immediate calls for a rematch before both men return to their dressing rooms.
As soon as Joshua lost to Ruiz, he ensured his next fight was the rematch and he was determined to take back what he still believed belonged to him.
Sometimes it’s not as easy as that, the governing bodies seem to hold all the calls when it comes to title defences. If one of them has a mandatory challenger waiting in the wings to challenge for one of the titles – let’s say Oleksandr Usyk – then Pulev could be forced to face him first or risk having a belt stripped from him.
Obviously, Joshua would be pushing for the rematch as soon as possible, but he could be forced to wait until Pulev has his mandatory title defence. If that does happen, then AJ needs to have at least one fight before taking on Pulev again.
Aside from Joshua versus Tyson Fury, everyone wants to see Dillian Whyte have another crack at Joshua. Whyte believes he should already be a world champion, but his climb to greatness took a nosedive back in August when he was knocked out by Alexander Povetkin.
Whyte needs to get past Povetkin in a rematch, but if Joshua is not the champion a domestic heavyweight clash between these two fierce rivals would really whet the appetite for what was to come later in the year.
For years, Whyte has had to dance to Joshua’s tune, but if he is not the champion then it could be Dillian who gets to hold all the cards. Whether Whyte would want AJ without the belts on the line is another matter, but Whyte seems the kind of guy who would never back down from a challenge and if he gets the chance to pile misery on AJ, then he will do so.
Ok, let’s say that Pulev has to face a mandatory challenger and Whyte refuses to take on Joshua as he looks for his own title shot – what does that mean for AJ?
The heavyweight division looks good at the moment, but we all know that having a belt is what matters to all boxers. One fighter who will be demanding a huge fight now is Joe Joyce.
Joyce upset the applecart with his dominant performance against Daniel Dubois. Many expected Dubois to run through Joyce, but the older fighter showed cunning and class as he jabbed Dubois face off and force him to quit.
Joyce will want to be a world champion, but surely, he would not turn down the chance to share the ring with Joshua. Joyce is now 35 years of age and he knows he cannot go on for ever, this could be a chance to make a late name for himself.
If Joyce beat Joshua, he would certainly be in line for a title shot, and due to his age, it could be his one and only chance.