The Big Question: What's your Anthony Joshua wish-list for 2018?

Boxing Monthly
10/11/2017 1:30pm

As Anthony Joshua plots his course for 2018, we asked the Boxing Monthly online team what his plans should be for the next 12 months...

Joshua is on a two fight a year schedule. No doubt there will be an unwanted mandatory or lower risk defence in 2018. My hope is the other contest will be against a revitalised Tyson Fury. That is the biggest fight in boxing. There are still a lot of hurdles to overcome for Fury (licence, UKAD hearing, discipline, mental health, a warm-up fight or two...), but it's Joshua's defining fight. I don't place Wilder or Parker in that category. - Mark Butcher

I think there’s only one fight to be made in the heavyweight division and that’s Joshua vs Wilder. While Joshua vs Fury would be a bigger fight and the closest Joshua can get to a legacy fight, I just don’t see Fury boxing again, and even if he does, he won’t be the same fighter. With all the mandatories taken care of, Joshua has his pick of the litter but I get the impression he doesn’t want the Wilder fight, not yet anyway. While I’d like the Wilder fight to be next, I think Joshua will looks to unify with Joseph Parker and then will make a Vegas fight with Wilder later in 2018. - Callum Rudge

We're in a position which doesn't happen very often: all the heavyweight champions have fulfilled their mandatory requirements within a month of each other. The time is perfect for some sort of unification - and I wonder if Joshua will miss out as Wilder vs Parker takes place, although all money seems to be in the UK right now so perhaps both men will hang fire and try to get AJ. The only fights which appeal for Anthony Joshua right now are the three unifications: Wilder (WBC), Parker (WBO), and Fury (lineal) - plus, sadly, mandatory requirements. If I could pick AJ's three fights for next year I'd have: 1) A spring fight with Parker, possibly over in the States to (a) tick it off the list of things great champions should do, and (b) garner interest in a huge summer fight. 2) A summer fight vs Wilder in Cardiff 3) An end-of-year contest vs Fury, at Wembley. The only diversions would be any WBA mandatory necessities, so if Parker and Wilder crept in with a spring unification, then if I was AJ I'd fulfil that obligation - even if it meant spending 60 seconds knocking-out Fres Oquendo ... no, no, no - I take that back! - Colin Harris

Joshua has painted himself into a bit of a corner. He could do with more seasoning but as champion doesn't have that luxury. He will likely fight twice next year and only once against a threatening opponent. That could be Joseph Parker who, with his sturdy whiskers, solid body attack and above average hand speed, will likely be there until the final bell. Or perhaps Jarrell Miller, before he gets too experienced. I have a gut feeling the Wilder fight won't come off next year and we will have to wait until 2019 to see that happen. And by then one of them - or perhaps both - might not be undefeated. - Anthony Cocks

The danger is that we expect Joshua to steamroller everyone. He's still a relative novice. As we know only too well, though, money talks and the public rightfully wants to see the big fights. Now I'm not normally in favour of over-protecting fighters but I would tread carefully. It would be a big shame and anti-climax if say he lost his title(s) to someone like Parker on points. Someone's going to take him the distance sooner or later and his 'luck' may well run out. For me, he still needs a couple of tune-up fights before facing someone like Wilder. - Luca Rosi

If I really had to pick one fight for Joshua, it'd be a showdown with Wilder. I'd make Joshua favourite but Wilder undoubtedly has scary power and it'd be fun whilst it lasted. If I can really be indulged, I'd love to see Usyk step up from cruiserweight to challenge for the world title at some point next year. - James Oddy

It would have to be fights against Parker and Wilder. Further unification would cement his legacy. If he gets those two fights next year - brilliant. Anything else is a bonus. - Paul Zanon