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Five heavyweights Anthony Joshua could fight in April 2019 if he defeats Povetkin

GiveMeSport | Updated: 2018-08-15 11:27:10

We are less than six weeks away until Anthony Joshua's next heavyweight championship defence at Wembley Stadium.

Joshua lit up London when he produced a stunning 11th round knockout of Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017, and he returns to fight Alexander Povetkin on September 22.

The 39-year-old Russian brutally stopped David Price last March on the same evening Joshua produced a successful title defence against Joseph Parker, and it was the victory over Price that guaranteed Povetkin a mandatory shot at AJ's gold.

All summer long the talk of boxing fans has been a potential unification between Joshua and WBC champion Deontay Wilder, but after long, drawn-out negotiations between the pair's managers, Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing turned to Olympic gold medalist Povetkin.

Despite Hearn confirming Joshua will fight again at Wembley Stadium on April 13, 2019, it's not guaranteed to be against the 'Bronze Bomber' Wilder, who is reportedly fighting Tyson Fury in a huge Las Vegas showdown in December.

So here are five potential contenders to face-off against Joshua, should he pass the test of the ruthless Russian next month.

DILLIAN WHYTE

The opponent that would make the most sense would be the 'Body Snatcher'.

Whyte scored an impressive victory over Joshua's last opponent Parker, despite being floored by the New Zealander in the final round of their July 2018 brawl at the O2 Arena.

It surely puts Whyte on the cusp of a world title shot on the back of an eight-fight winning streak, and with he and AJ both represented by Hearn, it's an easy fight to make and sell.

The duo have a storied rivalry which dates back to Whyte defeating Joshua in amateur competition in 2009, but the Watford-born champion got his revenge in 2015 with a seventh-round TKO victory for the British heavyweight crown.

LUIS ORTIZ

This clash would really get the pulses racing.

The Cuban 'King Kong' almost got the better of Wilder in their bout last March at the Barclays Center, but the 'Bronze Bomber' rallied to score a 10th round victory.

Ortiz made his comeback though two weeks ago with a savage round two defeat of Romanian Razvan Cojanu, and he called out Joshua for only facing boxers that he's 'sure he can defeat'.

Being a 39-year-old though means Ortiz does not have time on his side, so any potential clash between the two would have to be sooner rather than later.

JARRELL MILLER

The outspoken 'Big Baby' has history with Joshua, after they got into a verbal confrontation last month at Eddie Hearn's DAZN promotional event.

Joshua was involved in a photo-op with next challenger Povetkin when Miller directed words towards AJ, who didn't take too kindly to the comments.

Some claimed it was a publicity stunt to garner more attention, but it worked for some fans, who would be interested in seeing them clash.

Now signed to Hearn's stable of boxers, Miller probably needs to prove himself against former two-weight world champion Tomasz Adamek in October to establish himself as a contender, but it's an interesting proposition nonetheless.

KUBRAT PULEV

The Bulgarian was set to face Joshua last October, but had to pull out just two weeks before the bout due to injury.

Whilst he hasn't fought since April 2017, Pulev returns to the ring in October to face Hughie Fury, younger brother of Tyson, in Pulev's home city of Sofia.

Pulev is still ranked number two in the IBF standings, so he will be in consideration for a title clash against Joshua should he get past Fury, but there are doubts whether he would be a worthy opponent for a stadium as big as Wembley.

ADAM KOWNACKI

Whilst this name seemingly comes out of left-field, Kownacki is a rising name in the heavyweight ranks.

The 29-year-old was born in Poland but emigrated to America when he was seven, and has a professional record of 17 wins and zero defeats.

Kownacki stopped his fellow Polish native Artur Szpilka - who's also been in the ring with Deontay Wilder - in the fourth round of their fight last year, so the form has substance.

He will next face-off against another former AJ opponent, Charles Martin, in September as he looks to rise to the upper echelons of the division, and with 14 of his victories coming by way of knockout, there's no doubt that Kownacki is a dangerous individual. 

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