Promoter Eddie Hearn has already planned Anthony Joshua’s next three fights, which will lead to his becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion.
Stage One: Ngannou Showdown
The two-time heavyweight champion Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) faces Francis Ngannou (0-1) in their ten-round fight on March 8th in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“The timing worked perfectly for AJ to stop Ngannou and for Fury to win. We appreciate there’s this fight and this rematch, but you know how things are going to go,” Hearn told iFL TV.
Hopefully, Hearn isn’t counting on Joshua scoring a stoppage over Ngannou because this could go badly for AJ if he goes all out, looking to get a knockout.
Joshua isn’t exactly firing on all eight cylinders at this stage of his 12-year professional career; as I mentioned, he can keep going, thanks to Hearn’s match-making.
He’s done a great job of reinventing Joshua without him needing to fight anyone good, and now he’s potentially one fight away from battling for the undisputed, all without facing anyone dangerous.
If Ngannou can land some of the same shots he used to nail Fury last October, he’ll likely knock out Joshua.
Stage Two: Fury vs. Usyk Aftermath
Hearn is still hoping that he can push Joshua, 34, straight into a world title shot against the winner of the May 18th undisputed clash between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury, but that’ll defend on the Saudis allowing AJ to interrupt the rematch clause those two champions have.
“You know how His Excellency moves,” said Hearn with a gleam in his eyes. “When the biggest fight in the history of the sport is in front of you to make, I’m sure he’ll find a way to keep everybody happy and make that fight, but it’s irrelevant right now.
The Saudis will have to agree to Joshua facing the Fury vs. Usyk winner, and it remains to be seen if they will.
Stage Three: Potential IBF Mandatory
Hearn said if Joshua can’t get a straight shot at the Fury-Usyk winner after the Ngannou clash.
“If AJ is triumphant, he will fight Filip Hrgovic for a world title, which is fine. Then we’ll fight the winner of Fury vs. Usyk.”