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Hearn lists Joshua’s three options for November fight

By Scott Gilfoid: If IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs) gets past his title defense against unbeaten Dominic Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs) on June 25, his promoter Eddie Hearn has three options for him for his next fight in November.

Joshua can fight IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, WBC champ Deontay Wilder, or he can fight a voluntary defense against whoever they choose.

Joshua is already fighting a voluntary defense in his match against the 30-year-old Breazeale at the O2 Arena in London, England. If he takes another voluntary defense, it would be his second in a row. Hearn says he’ll have Joshua defend against his IBF mandatory challenger Joseph Parker next spring in 2017.

That means we could see Joshua take a soft job in November if he can’t get the fights against Deontay or Fury. I think there’s very little chance that Joshua will be able to get a match against Wilder because his promoter says Joshua isn’t well known at this time in the U.S. As such, a fight between Wilder and Joshua would be premature, because it wouldn’t be a big deal for the Americans. In other, the Wilder-Joshua clash needs time to simmer before it will be a big enough fight for it to be worth it for Deontay.

“The next step would be a title defense on Nov. 5 or Nov. 12. We badly want the (Tyson) Fury fight but my gut feeling is that’s more likely to happen next summer at Wembley Stadium,” said Hearn to “So, I’m thinking a voluntary in November or a unification fight (The WBC’s Deontay Wilder is the only remaining titleholder) would be next.”

Fury, 27, would obviously take the Joshua fight in November if he gets past Wladimir Klitschko on July 9 in their rematch, but my guess is that Fury is going to get whipped the second time around and will be belt-less afterwards. The question is, would Fury be willing to fight Joshua coming off a loss to Wladimir? I doubt it.

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I cannot see that happening. If Fury loses to Wladimir, depending on how badly he loses, his next move would likely be a confidence booster against a 2nd tier scrub. I think it would be an insane move for Fury to challenge Joshua in November after losing to Wladimir in July. Never the less, if Fury does beat Klitschko, then I do think he’ll pull the trigger on a match against Joshua in November. The cash will be too good for Fury not to take the fight, and the timing would be perfect after a second win over Wladimir. This is as good as it would get for Fury. If he were to fight 10 other heavyweights while letting the Joshua fight marinate, it won’t be better than it would be if he beats Wladimir a second time and does a better job of it than in the first fight last November.

“(Joseph) Parker (the IBF’s No. 1 challenger) is due to get a call on Nov. 19 and it’s possible that we have to take that one next spring,” said Hearn. “That’s a really good fight between two young heavyweights and it would be exciting.”

Parker is a dangerous fight for Joshua given his youth, power and size. The 24-year-old Parker is a badly flawed heavyweight, to be sure, but he’s got a lot of raw punching power that could be a problem for Joshua, especially if he tries to bum rush to get him out of there in the 1st round. Parker isn’t nearly as dangerous when his opponents let him fight at a slow pace. But when they come after him trying to take his head off, Parker fights back and is pretty lethal.

Parker hits harder than Dillian Whyte with both hands in my view, and I think he could KO Joshua if he stands in front of him trying to throw his arm punches like he normally does. Joshua likes to charge after his opponents, get them against the ropes, and then flurry with mechanical looking arm punches.

Even if Parker was dumb enough to give ground and fight with his back against the ropes, which I don’t think he would do, he would throwing huge punches back at Joshua and if he catches him with even one of those shots, it could be all over for Joshua. It doesn’t really help Joshua to wait on the Parker fight because the 24-year-old Parker is going to be getting better with every fight. He’s not an old timer that Hearn and Joshua can wait out until he’s too old to fight.

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Parker will likely be better in 2017 than he is now, which is why it might be smarter for Hearn to get that mandatory out of the way in November rather than letting Parker improve. We saw some flaws in Parker’s game from his recent win over Carlos Takam that Joshua could take advantage of if he fought him next. However, if he gives Parker more time to fix those mistakes, then he could be facing a guy that he simply can’t beat.

I personally see Parker as having better overall physical tools than Joshua. Parker hits harder, has a better chin, moves better, and is more disciplined than Joshua. Parker doesn’t bum rush his opponents like Joshua, and doesn’t throw arm punches. Parker has better flexibility with his upper body than Joshua. That’s because Parker is naturally muscular without having to do weight lifting or resistance exercises. He’s a big guy by nature, and he hasn’t built up his body with weights like Joshua has.

“My biggest concern with Joshua is making sure he doesn’t burn out because, after that last fight, the media obligations have been insane,” said Hearn about Joshua. “He hasn’t had a rest since he began camp for the (Charles) Martin fight and now he’s straight back into camp for this one. Afterwards, I would like him to relax for 4-to-6 weeks and be a young man for a while.”

Why in the heck would Joshua need a break from boxing? He’s knocking out all of his opponents within seven rounds, and hardly getting hit. Why would he need to take a break? I don’t understand what Hearn is taking about. It sounds to me like he’s babying Joshua.

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