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06th Aug 2017

Anthony Joshua’s next fight may actually take place a lot closer to home

Las Vegas has taken a back seat

Darragh Murphy

Las Vegas is no longer the frontrunner to host Anthony Joshua’s next fight.

Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn visited the fight capital of the world last month to scout potential venues and it seemed like they’d settled on the T-Mobile Arena when it appeared as though Joshua’s next outing would be a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko.

All signs had pointed to a second clash with the Ukrainian legend but Joshua’s team had to return to the drawing board when, last week, Klitschko confirmed his retirement from the sport of boxing.

With Klitschko out, mandatory challengers Kubrat Pulev (IBF) and Luis Ortiz (WBA) made their cases for a shot at the Brit but a bout against either would be considerably less appealing to fans, particularly casual ones, than the rematch with Klitschko which had suddenly been taken off the table.

Neither man is exactly a draw and it therefore seems like Hearn is going to hold off on introducing Joshua to the American market until he has a bigger name alongside his on the bill.

The good news for British fans is that it now looks like they won’t have quite so far to travel to watch the most exciting heavyweight to come out of the UK in some years.

Cardiff’s Principality Stadium has retaken the lead in terms of likely venues to host Joshua’s next outing and not only will that make for a more straightforward round trip for British fans eager to attend, but it also means a more suitable broadcast time for viewers in the UK watching at home.

“We have an agreement in place with the IBF that if it wasn’t Klitschko it would be Pulev. It will almost certainly be Pulev next,” Hearn told the Daily Mail.

“We need to sort out the final details but the venues don’t change. It will still be Vegas or Cardiff, with Cardiff probably the frontrunner.

“The date will be the same as well – probably October 28 or November 11, because ideally we would like AJ to fight again in February or March so he can have three fights in 2018.”