By: Hans Themistode
Being a world champion has its perks. The checks are bigger and the recognition grows considerably but so does the obligations.
In the case of Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) he is currently is facing one of those obligations. Actually, make it two.
As the belt holder for the WBA, IBF, and WBO, Joshua has a long list of contenders awaiting him.
Joshua, of course, is fresh off a shutout win over Andy Ruiz Jr on December 7th, in Saudi Arabia. The celebration of winning back his world titles did not last long as Joshua has been given two mandatory contenders. Former title challenger Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) for the IBF and the undefeated Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) for the WBO.
Joshua might be a great fighter, but he isn’t a ubiquitous individual. The British born champion spent six long months training and preparing himself to win back his Heavyweight gold. To simply give away any of those titles outside of the ring doesn’t sound appealing, but it won’t make or break Joshua.
“I always said the belts do not represent me,” said Joshua. “I will stand as a champion, even if I have to give one up,” Joshua told Sky Sports. “It would give me an opportunity to face another world champion – I’ve beaten four world champions on my record now. If I give up a belt it creates more history and entertainment. If I have to, I’ll give it away – but I’ll get it back again.”
No one would complain if Joshua was forced to drop one of his titles in order to make a mega showdown with one of his fellow champions. The issue with that statement however, is that the WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) and Lineal champion Tyson Fury (29-0, 20 KOs) have one of seemingly two contests against one another starting on February 22nd.
“Tyson is going to be back in the ring with Wilder on February 22,” said promoter Frank Warren. “And they will fight again, irrespective of who wins, in the summer. So that, at the moment, is all tied up.”
Although it isn’t exactly set in stone, if Joshua is indeed forced to drop one of his belts, it could open up the door for another up and coming fighter to snag the belt for themselves.
In a perfect world, Joshua won’t be forced to drop any of his titles. But then again, the sport of boxing is anything but perfect.