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04th May 2017

Here’s why Anthony Joshua could soon lose one of his world titles

"We won’t let boxing politics get in the way of AJ’s progression"

Robert Redmond

Anthony Joshua is enjoying a well-earned break after defeating Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday night.

Joshua stopped the Ukrainian in the 11th round at Wembley Stadium in the best heavyweight bout in recent years.

The 27-year-old won the WBA title, and retained his IBF belt, but most importantly cemented his status as the best heavyweight boxer in the sport with his victory over the previously dominant Klitschko.

Joshua now has his pick of opponents for his next bout, with the entire heavyweight division lining up to fight him.

Tyson Fury has called him out, Deontay Wilder openly stated that he is interested and there’s the possibility of a rematch with Klitschko. Joseph Parker, the WBO champion, is also an option.

However, Joshua could end up losing his IBF title if he chooses to not fight Kubrat Pulev next in favour of a more lucrative bout.

Pulev, a 36-year-old Bulgarian with a record of 25 wins (13 by KO) in his 26 professional fights, is the mandatory challenger for the IBF title.

If Joshua opts against fighting him, he could be stripped of his IBF belt.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has said that they are speaking with the Bulgarian’s camp about the situation, but that they are prepared to lose the belt, saying they “won’t let boxing politics get in the way of AJ’s progression.”

“We don’t want to drop the IBF belt but if we have to we’ll have no problem doing exactly that,” Hearn told the Sun.

“We won’t let boxing politics get in the way of AJ’s progression. Ideally, we want all the belts but when you get close, it becomes difficult because of situations like this.

“We could look to do a deal with Pulev and try to make an interim bout for the belt — with the winner of that to face AJ.”