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Anthony Joshua's Next Three Fights Mapped Out As Heavyweight Star Pens US Deal

Anthony Joshua's Next Three Fights Mapped Out As Heavyweight Star Pens US Deal
By Gavan Casey

With Eddie Hearn's suggestions that there was massive news on the way regarding Anthony Joshua's career, and US tv network Showtime's press release simultaneously preparing us for "an exciting announcement," it came as no great shock to discover the heavyweight star from Watford has inked a deal for his fights to be shown in the USA.

Showtime had already broadcast Joshua's two-round title destruction of Charles Martin last month, but the 26-year-old potential boxing kingpin and Matchroom Sport have now put pen to paper on a multi-fight deal, which will commence with Joshua's first IBF title defence against Dominic Breazeale on June 25th.

The fact that such a fight could sell out London's O2 Arena in less than 30 minutes speaks to the sporting superstar Joshua is set to become in the UK, and Showtime - the home of Floyd Mayweather pay-per-views - have certainly hopped aboard the freight train in good time.

They will broadcast Joshua - Breazeale in almost matinee-like circumstances Stateside; the fight in the English capital will serve as an appetiser for the mammoth, free-to-air clash between top US welterweight contenders Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter - one of the most eagerly anticipated matchups in the sport.

As to where Joshua goes after Breazeale - that presumably now changes somewhat with this tv deal across the pond. Speaking to Sky Sports, Eddie Hearn indicated the foundation for a clash with Tyson Fury has already been laid, but that AJ might take one more voluntary defence before facing the World heavyweight champion, presuming the latter repeats his victory over Wladimir Klitschko this summer:

Tyson Fury has belts so he's definitely a target because Anthony Joshua wants to unify the heavyweight division. It's also a fight we think is quite straightforward for us.

One hundred per cent, our target is Fury. He's got to win in the summer. We've got to win on June 25 and then we can start talking.

I've already spoken to Peter Fury last week. He runs the shop for Tyson Fury and makes all the decisions. He's told me: '100 per cent we want that fight.'

We've even talked about the deal and the structure of the deal already, so we've just got to keep winning. Tyson Fury wants the big fights, the big pay days and we want those belts.

If it's not November then 100 per cent next spring or summer. I think it's only a matter of time.

Of course, boxing promoters say a lot of things. Four days ago, a slightly more candid Hearn revealed:

We have one more voluntary defence [after Breazeale] in November. It could be Fury, but realistically we quite like [former WBC champ Bermane] Stiverne or someone like that in November.

And after that we have a mandatory, which is the winner of [Joseph] Parker versus [Carlos] Takam, which is a great fight. But a unification fight would override that. We'd go for the Fury fight in spring, summer 2017 if he beats Klitschko.

He's got his number, but to me, we don't know if it was a great performance of if Klitschko was just shot.

It'll be interesting to see where David Haye fits into that tentative schedule, but more so WBC champ and undefeated knockout artist Deontay Wilder, who is also signed to Showtime. Stylistically speaking, a Joshua - Wilder clash would likely provide the most exciting heavyweight title fight since the Tyson era.

The reality of the situation, though, is that Joshua fights Breazeale in July, will in all likelihood face former Wilder opponent Bermane Stiverne in November - a fight which would garner a solid viewership in the US - and after that, he may finally throw down with Fury in the spring or summer of next year.

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But such is the nature of the beast, the winner of Parker - Takam may be used as a potential tune-up fight for Joshua and postpone unification plans once more. So it's equally likely that we don't see Fury - Joshua until November of next year, four fights down the line.

It may be frustrating for the casual fans waiting to see Joshua take on the world, but that's the way the boxing world works in 2016.

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