Anthony Joshua says “the possibilities of 2018 are great” after cementing a record-breaking year with a dogged win over Carlos Takam.
The British WBA and IBF heavyweight champion built on his April win over Wladimir Klitschko by stopping Takam in 10 rounds at a captivated Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
His promoter Eddie Hearn says a meeting with WBC champion Deontay Wilder “has to happen”, while coach Rob McCracken hopes a bout against WBO king Joseph Parker presents itself first.
“The possibilities are bubbling nicely in the distance,” said Joshua, 28. “I’m not worried about 2018 because of the potential possibilities to come.
“I want the other two belts out there, whether it’s Wilder first or Parker.”
Both bouts – but Wilder in particular – would serve to elevate Joshua’s seemingly unstoppable rise through global sport further.
A smooth-talking Briton versus a flamboyant American, both raw in the ring, both powerful. What is not to like? The sooner it happens the better.
Or maybe not. Takam – though well beaten and aided when he damaged the champion’s nose after a head collision – perhaps showed enough resistance to deploy brakes of caution on the Joshua bandwagon when the dust settles.
“This was just the type of fight, experience and adversity that Anthony Joshua needed,” said Britain’s former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.
“He wasn’t at his best, but you won’t always be – and it’s those times you have to find a way.”
Britain has been swept along by the unbroken run of knockouts and belief Joshua can walk through anyone has arguably seeped in. That is ultimately still possible – but so early in his career, it is far from straightforward.
Joshua’s instinctive love for a brawl is still visible. That could prove dangerous against the biggest punchers and, after stopping 36-year-old Takam on Saturday, he admitted he still needs warnings from his corner at points where he simply gets “too cocky”.
There also remains a slightly reckless side which someone like Wilder – with 37 knockouts from 38 wins – could punish.
“He dominated Takam but what we need to understand here is this is a man who has had 20 pro contests on the back of an amateur career that was barely 40 fights old,” said BBC boxing correspondent Mike Costello.
“We also saw that, at the highest level, his power is not extraordinary because he landed flush time and again. Takam has a reputation for durability, but he took those punches.
“What we have seen tonight is there are a number of fights out there that potentially could be very closely contested.
“At the top of the list for most would be Wilder next year. I think the odds will have changed. I still think Joshua wins the fight – but maybe now more people will have them a little closer together.”
Source: BBC Sport