ANTHONY JOSHUA battered IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev to retain his heavyweight belts and steamroll his way into 2021.
Joshua’s stunning ninth-round KO of the tough Bulgarian paved the way for a huge all-British unification bout with Tyson Fury next year.
Anthony Joshua goes into 2021 off the back of a convincing victoryCredit: ©Mark Robinson/Matchroom
But who else is in the running to take on the Watford-born champ next?
SunSport runs you through all the potential opponents for AJ in the New Year.
It is the one that everybody wants to see.
Fury is the WBC champ after dethroning Deontay Wilder in February and a match-up would see ALL the heavyweight belts on the line.
And the Gypsy King immediately called out AJ after his win over Pulev, saying Joshua ‘s*** himself on live TV’ when asked about the fight and that he would ‘knock him out inside three rounds’.
Oleksandr Usyk is another available route for AJ to takeCredit: Mark Robinson
Oleksandr Usyk is the WBO’s mandatory challenger after cleaning out the cruiserweight division and moving up form 14st 4lbs.
The WBO are insisting dangerous southpaw Usyk is given a shot against AJ after he outpointed Dereck Chisora on Halloween and could refuse to sanction a bout with Fury.
Alternatively, with Fury having not fought in nearly a year, Usyk could face Joshua if the Gypsy King chooses to have a warm-up bout after both a trilogy fight with Wilder and December homecoming bout were scrapped.
Hearn said: “If we get the Fury fight made, we are going to be applying to the WBO to make that undisputed and if they say no we have to go to Usyk and try to make a deal.
“If we can’t make the Fury fight for any reason, then we will fight Usyk 100 per cent. They’re kind of waiting to see what happens.”
Deontay Wilder lost to Tyson Fury last time outCredit: Rex Features
Deontay Wilder lost his WBC crown to Tyson Fury in February in the pair’s rematch.
Wilder almost KO’d the Gypsy King in the pair’s first fight which ended in a stunning draw and they were set for a trilogy contest.
But it was called off after the 35-year-old American’s contract clause expired.
Wilder has made claims that his water was SPIKED against Fury, something Eddie Hearn branded ‘ridiculous’.
But if AJ did want another shot at conquering the US he could take on Wilder – who he was linked with before Fury made his match-up with the Bronze Bomber.
ANDY RUIZ JR
Andy Ruiz Jr could look to make a trilogy fight with Joshua in 2021Credit: Times Newspapers Ltd
Andy Ruiz Jr shocked the boxing world by stopping AJ in New York in 2019 – stripping the Englishman of his cherished undefeated record.
Joshua got immediate revenge on points in Saudi Arabia 12 months ago with months of partying after his huge upset success causing Ruiz to come into the bout overweight.
And a trilogy could be on the cards next year after Joshua admitted he would love to knock Ruiz out.
Dillian Whyte could renew his long-term rivalry with JoshuaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Dillian Whyte could finally get his wish and get back in the ring with old foe Joshua in 2021.
The 32-year-old famously dished out a beating to Joshua in the amateurs before the world champ got his revenge in the pro ranks in 2015.
The Body Snatcher has always been keen on another shot at beating AJ and could get his chance depending on how things play out in 2021.
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