Reports out of England on Sunday offered hope that yet one more major fight could be added to the 2016 boxing calendar. According to The Daily Mail, and The Mirror undefeated British heavyweight star Anthony Joshua will face former champion Wladimir Klitschko on December 10 in Manchester, England.
This is one of the best possible fights that could occur right now in the heavyweight division. Since winning the 2012 Olympic gold medal, Joshua has given every indication that he is the future of the weight class, going 17-0 with 17 KOs. According to the IBF, Anthony Joshua is actually the reigning heavyweight champion. That is an absurdity, of course. The IBF heavyweight title is the least legitimate alphabet-soup belt in boxing right now.
But Joshua’s potential is 100 percent legitimate. And the fact that his team is already anxious to match him against Klitschko, after just three years and 17 fights, tells you everything you need to know about where they see his skill and ability. It is notable to compare the movement of his career to that of WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder, who spent years knocking out second- and third-tier opposition and still has yet to face a top-five opponent.
Klitschko did look extremely vulnerable when he lost to Tyson Fury last November. It was an extremely ugly and slow-paced bout. Klitschko looked frankly intimidated to finally be facing a bigger man, after years against smaller opponents. Joshua will be another opponent he cannot tower over.
Anthony Joshua’s last two wins were the best of his career, over Charles Martin and Dominic Breazeale. Both men were undefeated before facing Joshua. However, they were much more prospects than true contenders. It is a huge leap from fighters like them and a long-reigning champion like Klitschko.
So this fight will answer a lot of questions about how good Joshua really is. It will answer questions about whether or not, at 40, Klitschko is washed up, or if his fight against Fury was simply an off day.