By: Hans Themistode
It wasn’t exactly on the level of their first encounter, but Anthony Joshua successfully won back his IBF, WBA, IBO and WBO Heavyweight titles against Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia.
Ruiz informed everyone that Joshua would look to out box him this time around, and he was absolutely correct. You can criticize Joshua if you want, but he got the job done. With the Heavyweight titles back around his waist, it’s time for him to look ahead and figure out who would be the best option for him.
Let’s take a look at who he should jump into the ring next in 2020.
After clearing out the entire Cruiserweight division, Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) made his long awaited Heavyweight debut back in October earlier this year. He didn’t exactly look great against fringe contender Chazz Witherspoon, but he got the job done.
As it currently stands, Usyk holds a mandatory position with the WBO. In fact, Joshua was just given 180 days to make the fight with Usyk happen or he would be stripped of his WBO title. Usyk has made it very clear that he wants his shot at gold in 2020. Fight fans would be ecstatic if this bout took place next. Hopefully, they’ll get their wish.
Much like Oleksandr Usyk, Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) is currently the mandatory for Joshua, this time around, for the IBF title. These two were scheduled to face each other in the past but the bout fell apart with Pulev suffering an injury.
Since his lone defeat back in 2014 to Wladimir Klitschko, Pulev has gone on to win eight straight fights. He has done his part in fighting his way back up the ladder. It might not be the contest that fight fans want to see, but Pulev has earned his position and deserves a crack at the title.
Andy Ruiz Again
After such a lackluster contest in their second matchup, there isn’t exactly a large number of people who are looking to see these two do it again. Yet, it has to happen, so why not sooner rather than later?
Ruiz took home the stoppage win in the first bout, while Joshua boxed circles around Ruiz in the rematch. A tiebreaker between the two seems only fair. Fans might be ready to move on from this rivalry, but that can’t happen until a third fight takes place. It might as well be next.