ANTHONY JOSHUA’s legacy will be defined by the fights he takes, and wins, in the next five years.
The unified heavyweight champion of the world recently revealed he intends to hang up his gloves before he hits the wrong side of 40.
Anthony Joshua celebrates his KO over Kubrat PulevCredit: AP
Anthony Joshua plans to retire from boxing well before he hits 40Credit: PA
The 31-year-old told Sky Sports: “Five years left and that’s basically an Olympic cycle.
“I’ve got an Olympic cycle and a little bit more left, so when you see the next Olympics happen is when I’ll be coming to the end of my career and the next generation will be coming through.”
For Joshua to be seen as a true heavyweight great, he must first see off all the remaining challengers in the division.
And there are five men, in particular, AJ has to trade leather with before it’s all said and done.
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A fight with Tyson Fury is one British boxing fans have been itching to see for years. And thankfully, it’s in the works.
Negotiations over the unification bout resumed after Joshua knocked out Kubrat Pulev last month and are progressing well.
Apart from Deontay Wilder, who is doing his utmost to land a trilogy bout with The Gypsy King, there’s absolutely no other reason this fight shouldn’t happen next.
Let’s just hope Wilder isn’t contractually entitled to a third bout with Fury so the long-running debate over the best heavyweight in the world can be settled this year.
There’s simply been too much trash talk between Joshua and Wilder for this fight not to come to fruition.
The pair were at loggerheads long before Fury returned to the fray, although Wilder hasn’t mentioned his fellow Olympian for some time now.
Stylistically, Joshua vs Fury is a fascinating match-up that has all the ingredients to be an absolute fire fight.
And despite Wilder’s emphatic dethroning at the hands of Fury, there’s still some fan interest in the match-up.
Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk might be a small heavyweight, but he still poses a sizeable task for Joshua to overcome.
The Ukrainian’s footwork and ability to cut angles, which were on full display in his decision win over Derek Chisora last November, would likely cause the often flatfooted Joshua some serious problems.
Regular observers of Usyk – the mandatory challenger for the WBO strap – are all too aware of this and are eager to see how Joshua would handle the slick operator.
Oleksandr Usyk’s footwork would be a real problem for Anthony JoshuaCredit: Mark Robinson
Andy Ruiz Jr
Like it or not, Joshua still has a score to settle with Andy Ruiz Jr – the man responsible for handing him his first professional loss.
There was no doubting he was the better man in their rematch in Saudi Arabia in December 2019.
But with the score level at one win apiece, can he truly say he’s better than Mexico’s first heavyweight champion without sharing the ring with him again?
And let’s not forget the condition Ruiz Jr – who had clearly been enjoying the high life after his stunning upset win – came in for his second showdown with AJ.
Despite the dominant nature of his Saudi revenge job, Joshua has to run this one back again.
Anthony Joshua put on a clinic in his rematch with Andy Ruiz JrCredit: Getty Images – Getty
While we’re on the topic of trilogy fights, Joshua still needs to settle the score with fellow Brit Dillian Whyte.
If you count their amateur meeting in 2009, the series between Joshua and Whyte is level.
One could argue there’s no cause for a third fight as Joshua brutally knocked out The Bodysnatcher in their 2015 showdown.
But given the improvements Whyte has made since that setback, with the exception of his recent loss to Alexander Povetkin, a third fight with AJ is still marketable.
And I’m sure there’s few things Joshua would love more than to silence his domestic rival once and for all.
Anthony Joshua knocked out Dillian Whyte in December 2015Credit: Getty
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