While Twitter polls mean very little in world championship matchmaking (see Mayweather, Khan, Maidana), Anthony Joshua’s latest attempt may place some unwanted pressure on Eddie Hearn.
Prior to this poll, we have stated many times that we firmly believe Dillian Whyte is the next opponent for the current WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight supremo. The messages from Team Joshua, more so from Matchroom, is that Whyte has learned since their previous encounter and more importantly, has improved.
Solely from a Matchroom point of view, the Whyte fight is the one to make. It is an easy sell with the supposed ‘rivalry’ between the two Londoners, there is no external promoter to contend with and both men have the level of personality required to carry a big domestic promotion. It is important to remember that Eddie Hearn is not solely looking out for Anthony Joshua here. He is also the promoter of Whyte. That means he needs to deliver for Dillian as well as the champion. It has been long documented that Whyte feels he is due a world title shot and one can’t imagine he will settle for anything less. He has already refused world-title eliminators, for whatever reason, so he must feel suitably positioned for a shot at gold in his next bout.
In this situation, Whyte’s problem is the boxing public’s pleasure. In any other division, Whyte would probably have some form of ‘World’ title around his waist, or at least had a shot at one, by now. His win over former champ Parker is arguably more of an achievement than what some current ‘champions’ have managed. However, Wilder has already shunned the ‘Bodysnatcher’ in his pursuit of Joshua and has a bigger fight confirmed against Tyson Fury. And this brings us onto the main reason that there appears to be little interest in seeing Whyte face Joshua.
Two genuinely better alternatives.
The only other man able to call himself a current heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder for one. Let’s get this right. Wilder should have been the man standing across the ring from Joshua last night. For whatever reason, neither side could concede or agree terms and both moved on. One of the reasons that many have given as evidence Team AJ didn’t want any part of the American was the 2-date booking of Wembley Stadium. One sticking point during their negotiations was supposedly the venue, so it is interesting that it was announced as early as July, that Joshua would be boxing in the famous stadium next April. That, for me anyway, rules out the possibility of Wilder being the next opponent. It appears to be a convenient sticking point that is already in place, preventing Joshua from travelling to Las Vegas for example.
The overall relationship between both sides seemingly eroded as negotiations continued. Stranger things have happened in boxing but Team Wilder’s willingness (and ability) to negotiate successfully with Frank Warren and Tyson Fury, indicates that ties with AJ are severed, for the time being at least.
Which brings us on to the lineal champ himself. As soon as Fury signed promotional terms with Warren upon his comeback, the odds of him facing Joshua plummeted. We are not advocating this sort of logic, however it is a realistic reflection of boxing today and must be acknowledged. It’s difficult to see Hearn and Warren coming to any sort of agreement.
I mentioned recently on social media that I have very little interest in further Joshua defences against unfavoured opponents. The problem is the lack of opponents that could be considered competitive. Povetkin for example, had only lost to Klitschko as a professional and boasted his own Olympic Gold medal, yet there was an underwhelming frustration when he was announced.
I expect more of the same in April.
Unless it is the Wilder-Fury winner, that will be the case for me.