Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua 2: What’s next for AJ after Saudi Arabia heavyweight title showdown?

Anthony Joshua faces another date with fate in Saudi Arabia on August 20.

More than two and a half years after avenging his first loss of his career when he overtook Andy Ruiz Jr in the Middle East, Joshua (24-2) faces another immediate return against the masterful Oleksandr Usyk.

Former undisputed cruiserweight world champion Usyk clinched a unanimous decision win at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September to wrest the IBF, WBA and WBO belts from Joshua.

It’s hard to see beyond the scope of a career-defining night for the 32-year-old, but the picture at the top of the heavyweight division is ever-changing as a multitude of contenders jostle for positions.

Regardless of whether Joshua becomes the fifth man in history to enjoy a third reign as champion, there are a number of potentially intriguing encounters in his immediate future.

MORE: Tyson Fury vs Derek Chisora ​​3: What happened the first two times Del Boy faced the Gypsy King

What’s next for Anthony Joshua if he beats Oleksandr Usyk?

Should Joshua defeat Usyk for the second time, all focus will be on the same blockbuster fight that has captured fans’ attention for the past few years.

Tyson Fury has as many faces as the town hall clock when it comes to proclamations about his future in or out of boxing. Within three days of his 34th birthday, the Gypsy King announced his boxing comeback to fight Derek Chisora ​​despite already beating his fellow British heavyweight twice, and flew to Iceland to challenge strongman Hafthor Bjornsson, who was in Rome at the time, and then withdrew again.

As well as taking all of Fury’s public letters with a salt cellar, it’s undeniable that the WBC champion is thinking about boxing as the other three major heavyweight belts are put on the line again.

Joshua’s losses to Ruiz and Usyk took some of the luster out of a possible matchup with Fury, but if he gets his revenge, that’s the fight the world wants to see. It would probably be the richest fight in boxing history.

As past experience shows, negotiations between Joshua and Fury are anything but straightforward. Promoter Eddie Hearn has said he would like Joshua to fight again this December and if a deal can’t be struck for the undisputed clash it would be time to try and tick off a mandatory signing. Filip Hrgovicundefeated and highly rated, meets Zhilei Zhang in a final eliminator for the IBF title on the undercard Usyk vs. Joshua 2 and can put himself in a prime position.

Alternative, Joe Joyce ranked highly by the WBO and IBF along with the WBC should Fury vacate. The 2016 Olympic silver medalist is unbeaten as a pro and meets Joshua’s old adversary Joseph Parker in September. If he wins that fight in Manchester, there will be some momentum behind the Juggernaut as an alternative to Fury in an all-British showdown with Joshua.


Joshua’s resume since turning pro is arguably deeper than any elite heavyweight, often obscured by the two fights that got away. Aside from having yet to meet Fury, a fight with Deontay Wilder When the American knockout artist became the WBC champion, it never happened.

Both have lost their unbeaten records since that fight was high on the agenda in 2019, but as Wilder reportedly prepares for an October comeback against Robert Helenius after his trilogy with Fury, much of the old appeal remains.

“I think this fight is tremendous, even if he loses to Usyk,” Wilder’s promoter Shelly Finkel said recently of the prospects of his man meeting Joshua.

What next for Anthony Joshua if he loses to Oleksandr Usyk?

Aside from Wilder winning or losing there, Finkel says Joshua is fortunate in that his career has a few other intriguing narrative threads that fans would love to see tied, belt or beltless.

Dillian Whyte has made great strides since losing a seven-round thriller to Joshua in December 2015, where he became the first man to point out his domestic rival’s future weaknesses by shaking him in the second.

Animosity remains between the two and while there would be a sense of damaged property given Whyte’s comprehensive loss to Fury at Wembley, it remains a fight that could fill a stadium in their home country, especially as both are at the last-chance saloon would be in relation to trying to force their way back into the world title fight.

In an interview with iD Boxing ahead of his September return against Luis Ortiz, Andy Ruiz Joshua wanted to remind her that her entire book is only one.

“Of course we should have. Once he beat me over there, there should have been a trilogy,” he said.

“I should have had one more opportunity to get those belts back like we gave him the opportunity in the rematch. There has to be a trilogy of whether he loses or wins, and if I lose or win, kinda, kinda.”

If Joshua is given more demons to conquer by Usyk, it would be fascinating to see him rebuild against the only other man who beat him.

A stacked British heavyweight scene means there will always be a line of fighters who at least claim they want a piece of Joshua. Whyte is reportedly set to face negotiations Daniel Dubos for the “regular” WBA title.

A meeting between Joshua and Dubois, two hard-hitting but vulnerable heavyweights, would have obvious appeal and give AJ a fast track back to the world title in the form of a second belt.

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