It seems the sanctioning bodies are pulling IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in different directions when it comes to his next fight after his April 29 title defense against Wladimir Klitschko. First the WBA president Gilberto J. Mendoza that then winner of the Joshua vs. Klitschko fight has to fight interim World Boxing Association heavyweight champion Luis Ortiz next.
Now the IBF is reportedly saying that the Joshua-Klitschko winner must face the IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, according to Fight News. There’s going to have to be some kind of an agreement made with the winner of the Joshua-Klitschko fight with one of the sanctioning bodies, because there’s no possible way that the unified champion that emerges out of the Joshua vs. Klitschko fight will be able to accommodate both sanctioning bodies’ request.
Unless the sanctioning bodies are going to absolutely insist on getting their way, which would force the Joshua-Klitschko winner to give up one of their titles, they’re going to need to get one of the sanctioning bodies to let the other sanctioning body get first dibs on the winner.
It’s doubtful that either of the sanctioning bodies will push the winner of the Joshua vs. Klitschko fight too hard, because having one of them as their champion is a very, very big deal. Both are popular fighters and bring in a lot of money.
Pulev, 35, already fought for a world title in 2014 against Wladimir and was knocked out in five rounds of a non-competitive fight. Pulev has won all of his fights since then in beating Dereck Chisora, Maurice Harris and Samuel Peter. Those are not the best fighters in the world, but Chisora is at least a contender.
The unbeaten Cuban Ortiz has beaten a number of fighters, and is seen by many boxing experts as the best non-champion in the world. Ortiz likely has the best chance of unseating the winner of the Joshua vs. Klitschko fight, but he still would be a heavy underdog against the likes of Joshua.
The results of the Joshua-Klitschko fight will show whether the winner of the fight has any vulnerabilities that Pulev or Ortiz can take advantage of.
Whichever of the sanctioning bodies gets their way with getting the winner of the Klitschko vs. Joshua fight to face them first, it’ll be a good deal for them. The sanctioning body that doesn’t get the winner to face them next can make sure that they get them after their next fight.
Klitschko and Joshua will be fighting on Sky Box Office PPV at Wembley Stadium in London, England. The stadium will likely be filled to the brim with more than 80,000 boxing fans on April 29. It’s almost guaranteed to be a sellout, as 50,000 tickets have already been sold for the fight, which is still four long months away.
It’s a very hot item for the UK, but not nearly as a big a deal outside of the UK. Many boxing fans see Klitschko as an older fighter that has seen better days and is just there for one last payday. He lost his last fight against Tyson Fury over a year ago and has been inactive since. The fight has a recipe for a quick knockout win for Joshua.