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Who next for Anthony Joshua? From Filip Hrgovic to three potential domestic dust-ups, AJ has plenty of options after scary Francis Ngannou KO, but here's why it will NOT be Tyson Fury

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So, what next for Anthony Joshua?

That’s the question on everybody’s lips – and firmly in his mind – after his ferocious second-round knockout of Francis Ngannou on Saturday morning in Riyadh. 

Three knockdowns in a matter of minutes revealed a relentless, untamed fighter, but he was in no mood for celebrating this demolition job. 

‘I’m not even buzzing about the win. On to the next, go,’ he said in the wake of his victory. 

In an ideal world, that ‘next’ would entail a bout with the winner of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, who bash gloves on May 18. 

But the world isn’t ideal. Fury and Usyk are bound for a rematch, meaning Joshua will have to fill the gap.

Mail Sport takes a look at his options.  

Who could Anthony Joshua's next opponent be after his stunning win over Francis Ngannou?

Who could Anthony Joshua’s next opponent be after his stunning win over Francis Ngannou? 

Joshua obliterated Ngannou on Saturday morning in Riyadh, knocking him down three times. The third time, in the second round, was the last

Joshua obliterated Ngannou on Saturday morning in Riyadh, knocking him down three times. The third time, in the second round, was the last

His next fight won't be against Tyson Fury, because he will fight Oleksandr Usyk and then have a rematch with him

His next fight won’t be against Tyson Fury, because he will fight Oleksandr Usyk and then have a rematch with him 

Deontay Wilder 

Wilder is a name that Joshua has long been linked with but a bout has never materialised. Yet. 

Instead of Ngannou, AJ was supposed to be fighting the Bronze Bomber as his March assignment. 

But Wilder’s shock defeat to Joseph Parker on the ‘Day of Reckoning’ in December stopped that idea in its tracks, at least temporarily. 

The likelihood of AJ and Wilder meeting next looks slim, but not impossible. Had AJ lost to Ngannou, it would have looked more likely. 

Ultimately, Joshua wants to be the undisupted heavyweight champion of the world, and a 38-year-old Wilder – who is himself some distance from holding a title – probably isn’t the quickest route there.  

A bout with Deontay Wilder would appeal to British fans and has been long desired, but is he the right opponent for AJ's goal of being an undisputed champion?

A bout with Deontay Wilder would appeal to British fans and has been long desired, but is he the right opponent for AJ’s goal of being an undisputed champion? 

 Dillian Whyte

Joshua was supposed to face Whyte last August at the O2 Arena in London. 

However, the punch-fest was cancelled when Whyte returned an ‘adverse finding’ to a random doping test. 

At short notice, Robert Helenius stepped up and was duly beaten by AJ. Joshua has since won two more fights, while Whyte, 35, hasn’t fought since November 2022.

Whyte has reportedly been cleared to return to the ring after a contaminated supplement was found to have been the cause of his positive drugs test, and he will be eager to prove a point.

With a record of 29-3, the Body Snatcher is a fearsome and worthy opponent but whether it would happen is unclear. The two previously fought in 2015, with Joshua winning. 

Dillian Whyte would be a worthy, high-profile opponent but hasn't fought since November 2022

Dillian Whyte would be a worthy, high-profile opponent but hasn’t fought since November 2022

Filip Hrgovic

Hrgovic is a serious contender, with 17 wins – 14 by knockout – and no defeats in his career to date. 

After Joshua beat Otto Wallin in December, Eddie Hearn suggested that Joshua will likely take on Filip Hrgovic for the vacant IBF heavyweight world title next.

Vacant, you say? Well, that’s not set in stone, but it is a likelihood. 

Usyk currently holds the IBF title, as well as the WBO and IBO belts. Fury is the WBC champion. 

After their contest in May and their pencilled-in rematch, if Usyk ultimately wins, he will likely retire and vacate the belt. If Fury wins, he will likely vacate the belt so that he isn’t forced to fight its mandatory challenger – Hrgovic – and so he can seek a more lucrative fight elsewhere. 

The likelihood is that Hrgovic will have to scrap with somebody for the vacant IBF title, and that somebody could well be Joshua. 

Filip Hrgovic looks among the more likely options. Joshua will likely have to beat him at some point to claim the IBF title if Usyk or Fury desert it after their fight in May

Filip Hrgovic looks among the more likely options. Joshua will likely have to beat him at some point to claim the IBF title if Usyk or Fury desert it after their fight in May 

Joseph Parker 

Parker did so well to recover from two knockdowns to beat Zhilei Zhang on Friday night, beating Big Bang by majority decision. 

That makes the New Zealand puncher the interim WBO heavyweight champion – and therefore the mandatory challenger for the winner of Fury and Usyk. 

Obviously, if they vacate the belt, that could bring him into contention with Joshua for it instead. 

It has been dubbed a ‘high risk’ fight for Joshua – by Parker’s promoter, no less – and he may well steer clear of the 32-year-old, who is on a five-fight winning streak. 

Would Parker be up for it? Absolutely. ‘I’ll 100 percent fight Tyson Fury,’ he said after his dominant points win over Wilder in December. 

Joseph Parker has bolstered his reputation after wins over Wilder and Zhilei Zhang

Joseph Parker has bolstered his reputation after wins over Wilder and Zhilei Zhang 

The outsiders 

Joe Joyce

Joe Joyce, 38, is probably only on this list because he is British. The Juggernaut has not been doing what juggernauts do recently, taking two defeats to Zhang in 2023.

That gives him a record of 15-2, and realistically he probably isn’t in the position to propel Joshua onto greater things. Beating Joyce would not be a statement in the same way it would be of Wilder, even if he has declined. 

Two defeats to Zhilei Zhang in 2023 have seen Joyce's status drop but British fans might like the idea of him fighting AJ

Two defeats to Zhilei Zhang in 2023 have seen Joyce’s status drop but British fans might like the idea of him fighting AJ 

Daniel Dubois is on the up at the age of 26 and beat Jarrell Miller in December last year

Daniel Dubois is on the up at the age of 26 and beat Jarrell Miller in December last year 

Daniel Dubois 

Dubois was considered good enough to fight Usyk as of last August, though he lost. He has since beaten Jarrell Miller with a dramatic late stoppage in December. 

Frank Warren previously suggested that AJ vs Dubois would be more appealing to British fans than a clash with Wilder. At 26, Dubois’ trajectory is on the up and it would be a stern test of his credentials.