Hearn on Anthony Joshua’s Options: Usyk, Pulev, Fury, Whyte

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As previously reported on BoxingScene.com, Anthony Joshua insists he is not underestimating Mexican opponent Andy Ruiz as he prepares to defend his unified world heavyweight crown on US soil for the first time at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

British star Joshua is an overwhelming favorite to extend his unbeaten record against Ruiz, a late replacement for Jarrell Miller, who withdrew from the bout after failing three drug tests in April.

Bookmakers are offering odds of 1/20 for Joshua to make Ruiz the 23rd victim of a professional career which has seen him accumulate the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight belts since his gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.

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But Joshua insists he is paying no attention to the bookmakers as he prepares for a fight that he describes as an upset waiting to happen.

Joshua, who has delivered 21 knockouts in his 22 victories, will, however, be determined to deliver an explosive performance as he aims to build a broader following in the United States on his American debut.

The Londoner hopes Saturday’s bout in New York will edge him closer to an eventual superfight against either WBC champion Deontay Wilder or fellow Briton Tyson Fury.

The prospect of a swift unification bout between Joshua and Wilder receded further on Wednesday, when WBC champion Wilder said he had agreed a rematch with Cuba’s Luis Ortiz later this year.

“AJ is focused on this. Wilder has decided he doesn’t want to fight Joshua so we have to focus on this career,” Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, told Sky Sports.

“This is dangerous, you take your eye off the ball for a minute and these challengers will turn your lights out. Joshua has to stay focused, this guy will do everything to try and knock him out.

“This is just the beginning. You’ve got Tyson Fury, Dillian Whyte, the two mandatories which is likely to be Oleksandr Usyk and Kubrat Pulev as well, we’re fine for opponents. The one we wanted though was Deontay Wilder but if he won’t fight him, there’s nothing we can do. Forget about him and focus on what we can do.”

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