Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin a strong possibility for this year – if both men win tomorrow night

Anthony Joshua has told anyone who will listen, or who is listening, that he is focused on one man and one man alone right now: Joseph Parker; the man he will face in less than 36 hours from now in Cardiff. But everyone, it seems, is unable to stop talking about what might happen next for a victorious Joshua (and his promoter Eddie Hearn is predicting how a “fired up AJ will stop Parker inside six-rounds”).

The fight everyone of course wants to see is a huge unification showdown with WBC king Deontay Wilder, but this one may have to wait, maybe until 2019. So who might AJ fight next, providing he gets past Parker, who, we must not forget, is equally fired up and determined to win?

Alexander Povetkin, who faces perceived soft touch or, in the words of one publication “sacrificial lamb,” David Price on tomorrow’s under-card, is very much in the frame as far as being Joshua’s next possible foe. If (or when in the opinion of the Price doubters, and there are many) Povetkin wins tomorrow, he will retain his NO-1 ranking with both the WBA and the WBO, meaning he could indeed fight AJ next.

In fact, Hearn has said such a fight “has to happen” sometime in 2018. Povetkin’s manager, who spoke with Sky Sports, says the fight would be a huge event in Russia:

“It would, depending on the timing, fill up the new Luzhniki Stadium – a football stadiium,” Vadim Kornilov said yesterday. “It would be a huge fight in Russia but, after speaking to Eddie, it would be a huge fight [in the UK] too because there is a big Russian community. Anywhere is a possibility.”

How would fans react if Joshua, having beaten Parker, then fought Povetkin – in either Russia or in the UK? This is what we might get, and not that massive unification between AJ and Wilder. Who might Wilder fight next if it’s not Joshua – Dillian Whyte maybe, as Hearn wants? Dominic Breazeale perhaps? If so, chances are fans will be far from happy.

Joshua-Wilder needs to happen sooner rather than later and any other match-ups that take place in the meantime will be unable to avoid being looked at as disappointments.