“Rumble In The Jungle II?”
Heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua will have a “homecoming” fight next, in May or June, most likely against his IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev (this fight still not quite a done deal but close) – but after that (assuming he wins), the world will be Joshua’s oyster.
A second big fight in Saudi Arabia is entirely possible, while Eddie Hearn has confirmed to BBC Sport how he has engaged in meetings discussing the possibility of Joshua fighting in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Instantly, any boxing fan recognizes this location and thinks immediately of one big fight – one very big fight: the 1974 epic between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.
The world will never see such a massive headline-dominating boxing match again, but Joshua has proven he is more than capable of pulling in enormous numbers when he fights; both at the live gate on and P-P-V. And as Hearn says, a fight in Kinshasa would be “special,” a “legacy” fight.
“It’s probably the most famous venue, or fight, of all time,” Hearn said. “The DRC is looking to regenerate the stadium. That’s special. That’s legacy. That’s career defining. He wants to create a legacy in the sport. When you look at the resume, he’s boxed everywhere you can in the U.K, at Madison Square Garden, Saudi Arabia. To put Africa, China and the Far East on the resume, that’s when you get to global star status. He has no interest in that but he wants to create history.”
Imagine the scale of the event if Joshua fought either Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder in the middle of the African jungle! As Hearn says, it would be historic. And who wouldn’t watch it (or pay to watch it)? First up, Joshua will have that first defense of his second reign; probably in London, probably against Pulev of Bulgaria.
But then, might Joshua try and do what Ali did and beat a monster puncher in the heart of Africa? Or might Joshua end up trying to beat a master boxer in Kinshasa?