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12th May 2017

Eddie Hearn reveals Anthony Joshua’s next opponent if Wladimir Klitschko retires

Not a household name

Robert Redmond

Eddie Hearn appears to be narrowing down Anthony Joshua’s potential opponents.

Following his dramatic victory over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium last month, a number of fighters were linked with a potential bout against Joshua.

Tyson Fury called out the heavyweight, and has since labelled him a “fraud” and a “bodybuilder” but a lot needs to happen before the two undefeated British boxers can step into the ring together.

Deontay Wilder, the undefeated American, and Joseph Parker, the WBO champion, have also been mentioned as potential bouts for the 27-year-old.

However, Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, has made it clear that a rematch with Klitschko is the preferred next fight, but the 41-year-old could choose instead to retire.

If that happens, then Joshua will fight mandatory IBF challenger Kubrat Pulev, a 36-year-old Bulgarian boxer.

“If Klitschko comes back and says he doesn’t want a rematch then we will fight Pulev next, unquestionably,” Hearn said.

“Bernd (Boente, Klitschko’s manager) said he (Klitschko) will have two weeks with his family and then he will make his mind up.

“I am looking at options now for the rematch while we wait on Klitschko, because you have to have an idea on dates and possibilities.”

Without being too presumptuous, Joshua could make light work of Pulev, and the bout won’t capture the attention of the sporting public the way the Klitschko bout did.

However, it might be a necessary box ticking exercise and would bridge the gap before Joshua’s next big bout.

Hearn also spoke about the location of Joshua’s next fight, signalling that it is unlikely to take place at Wembley.

He said earlier this week that Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, named the “Principality Stadium” for marketing purposes, but there are other options.

“We are talking to China, we are talking to Dubai and Qatar, we are talking to America and the Principality Stadium.”