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Anthony Joshua gunning for Deontay Wilder fight in 2020

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 23-1 (21) has been in negotiations to put forward an offer to face WBC champion Deontay Wilder 42-0-1 (41) later this year.

Joshua regained his IBF, WBA and WBO belts with a comprehensive 12-round point victory over conqueror Andy Ruiz Jr 33-2 (22) in Saudi Arabia last month. Wilder is scheduled to face Tyson Fury 29-0-1 (20) in a rematch in Las Vegas on February 22.

Joshua’s next assignment will be against either Kubrat Pulev or Oleksandr Usyk, whose are the IBF and WBO mandatory contenders respectively.

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“We’ve had meetings. That same meeting with Usyk’s manager, afterwards we had another meeting to potentially put an offer in to solidify [a fight with Wilder] before they have even had their fight, and before I have my next fight,” Joshua told Sky Sports.

“Everyone wants Wilder to win because [a fight with me] is what everyone wants to see. Wilder has a great right hand, I have a great left hand. It is a great boxing match.

“We had a meeting about that. It has great potential. I heard [Wilder and Fury] have a third fight lined up towards the end of the year but we have to throw a curveball in there.

“Something that gets Wilder’s attention providing he wins so that he thinks to himself: ‘Even though I have a rematch clause, I’ll see how I can manipulate my contract, get out of it, and fight for the undisputed championship’.”

The 30-year-old Brit said that whether he faces Pulev or Usyk next, both will get their chance.

“The one that I don’t fight, I will fight eventually,” he said. “In the heavyweight division everyone is welcome to challenge so even if it doesn’t happen first time, one of them will fight me in the future.

“We will end up fighting anyway.”

Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk 17-0 (13), a southpaw, made his heavyweight debut in October when he stopped late replacement Chazz Witherspoon in seven frames.

“He’s the best cruiserweight that we’ve ever seen and I want to compete with him [as he] comes up to heavyweight. People say ‘he’s a cruiserweight’ but look at what Evander Holyfield did, phenomenal fighter,” Joshua said.

“Who’s to say that Usyk can’t go on to do great things. But before we see that potential he has to come through the big boys of the division. I’ll be the first to challenge him.”

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