Joshua could face Whyte next – 5 Live Boxing

Watch: Mike Costello’s commentary of the moment Anthony Joshua reclaims world titles

Unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua could face fellow British fighter Dillian Whyte next, say the BBC Radio 5 Live Boxing team.

Joshua reclaimed his three world titles by beating Andy Ruiz Jr on points in a rematch in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

The 30-year-old previously beat Whyte, 31, in 2015.

The WBO said Joshua must now face mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk while IBF equivalent Kubrat Pulev is another potential next opponent.

But BBC boxing correspondent Mike Costello, boxing expert Steve Bunce and former super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall all said on the 5 Live Boxing podcast that a rematch against Whyte might be Joshua’s first fight in 2020.

Whyte beat Joshua as an amateur in 2009 and his only professional defeat in 28 bouts was a seventh-round knockout by his fellow Briton at the O2 Arena in London.

After having a charge for a doping violation dropped by UK Anti-Doping on Friday, Whyte beat Poland’s Mariusz Wach on a unanimous points decision on the undercard of the Joshua-Ruiz bout in Riyadh.

“Dillian Whyte at Wembley next year makes all the sense in the world,” said Bunce after Woodhall and Costello both suggested the all-British fight.

“Ukad have cleared him, Whyte and Joshua have got an old beef – that’s perfect.”

Dillian Whyte is unbeaten since losing to Anthony Joshua in 2015

WBC champion Deontay Wilder is set to face Britain’s Tyson Fury in a rematch on 22 February.

Joshua said he is no longer interested in calling out American Wilder for a fight with all four world titles on the line but will fight Wilder and Fury “if the opportunity presents itself”.

“Once their rematch is out of the way they can start mentioning my name,” he said.

“I can’t keep on fighting all the champions, the best in the division and then other people who say they want to step up don’t step up.

“All challengers are welcome to take on this current unified champion.”

Costello said Joshua’s win over Ruiz and the fact many bookmakers were offering near even odds in any contest against Wilder or Fury showed he was “back on the top table” after his shock defeat by Ruiz in June.

“We are on the cusp, possibly, of having this great heavyweight era that we’ve been talking about for so long over the next two years,” he added.

Joshua was meant to face Pulev in Cardiff in October 2017 but the Bulgarian withdrew through injury and was replaced by Carlos Takam, who Joshua stopped in round 10.

Bunce also said Joshua could well “fight a guy like Pulev next” before possibly facing the winner of a bout between Usyk and Britain’s Dereck Chisora in the summer and then a third fight in November or December.

Joshua said on Sunday that defending his belts “on home soil would be big news” after promoter Eddie Hearn revealed he had been in discussions over a fight at Tottenham’s new 60,000-capacity stadium, most likely against Pulev.

“It would be mega,” Joshua added. “Looking at how many people came out here shows there is still a big interest in the heavyweight division, especially now we are taking the belts back.

“Sometimes it would be better against a Brit, but if not I follow the mandatories and defend them that way.”

Regardless of the opponent, Woodhall said Joshua’s next fight “will not be too far away” because he has a “feel-good factor” after beating Ruiz.

“He’s got that hunger back and he wants to keep boxing because he knows that if he’s boxing regularly, he’s boxing at his best.”

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