Published: 23:37, 5 Jan 2024Updated: 23:37, 5 Jan 2024Anthony Joshua is in line for an undisputed heavyweight showdown against either Tyson Fury or Oleksandr Usyk at the end of 2024.
That is according to talkSPORT host Adam Catterall, who believes a win for AJ against Francis Ngannou can set up yet another fight for all four belts.
Joshua will take on MMA legend Ngannou inside the squared circle
The 34-year-old will face the ex-UFC heavyweight champion in Saudi Arabia in a ten-round affair – widely expected to take place on March 9.
Their dust-up will take place just three weeks after WBC king Fury and WBA, WBO and IBF holder Usyk trade blows in their quest to become the first undisputed heavyweight champ since Lennox Lewis in 1999.
It is understood that there is a rematch clause contracted, which will likely see the IBF belt become vacant.
Should that happen, then Joshua – providing he overcomes Fury’s former foe Ngannou – would likely take on the IBF’s mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic in the summer.
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That would coincide with the rematch between Usyk and Fury, with AJ to then potentially set up a blockbuster bout against one of the men later this year.
Should Usyk beat Fury, Joshua would have the chance to avenge his two defeats at the hands of the unbeaten Ukrainian, or he could finally secure a match-up against his British rival.
The prospect of a second undisputed heavyweight affair in 2024 left Catterall drooling following the announcement of Joshua and Ngannou’s scrap.
Speaking on the Sports Bar Weekender alongside Carlton Cole, he said: “Anthony Joshua’s noise has been, ‘I want to be a three-time heavyweight champion’.
Ngannou will be looking to cause an upset after being outpointed by FuryCredit: Getty
Fury and Usyk clash next month, with a rematch expected later in the yearCredit: AFP
“There’s the likelihood that will happen in 2024 because of the politics of the game.
“The IBF belt that is connected to Fury vs Usyk will become vacant after that fight, how quickly it becomes vacant, nobody knows.
“Will it be vacant by the time we get to March? I don’t know, maybe, maybe not.”
He continued: “If the Anthony Joshua that turned up against Otto Wallin [knockout win] on December 23 turns up on March 9 against Francis Ngannou, he will beat him.
“Therefore, that creates momentum pushing us forward towards a super-fight that we’ve all been dreaming about at the end of the year.
“Because what will happen is that AJ will beat Ngannou on March 9, he will then propel himself into a summer showdown with Filip Hrgovic for a vacant IBF world title, he will win that.
“And then at the end of the year, the winner of the Fury vs Usyk situation will hold three of the championship belts – AJ will have the other one.
“Do you want to do another undisputed fight at the end of the year?
Ngannou floored Fury in October, but ultimately lost on a split decisionCredit: Getty
“If it’s Tyson Fury – the man that he wants – that is holding the belts, him vs Anthony Joshua all of a sudden becomes the biggest fight of a generation.
“That is how this is going to play out, that is how I think this now navigates itself.”
Catterall concluded: “Because the game has completely changed over the last six months, it has set up a perfect narrative for Joshua to go and do what Tyson Fury couldn’t do [stop Ngannou].
“And point himself in the direction of becoming a world champion again of which then sets himself up a showdown with Fury at the end of the year for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world.”