Anthony Joshua has just regained his IBO / IBF / WBO / WBA Super Heavyweight World titles and he has two mandatory defense. Both the IBF and the WBO have ordered mandatory defense and are not yet aware of the progress of the negotiations, but there is a good chance that he will have to resign one, if the organizations does not agree. This will be revealed in the days because the IBF has given a deadline of 11 January to reach an agreement.
But Joshua doesn’t mind if he has to give up any of his belts, because the number of belts is not important to him, but rather the person of the defeated opponents. He says that it is not the number of belts that determines him, he is a champion, whether he owns 1, 2 or 3 big organization belts. He has repeatedly stated that he wants to fight with the WBC World Champion Deontay Wilder or, if Tyson Fury will beat Wilder in February, he wants to fight him, no matter if he has to give back his belt.
“I always said the belts do not represent me. I will stand as a champion, even if I have to give one up. It would give me an opportunity to face another world champion – I’ve beaten four world champions on my record now. … If I give up a belt it creates more history and entertainment. If I have to, I’ll give it away – but I’ll get it back again. … I’ve always said that belts do not define me. I’ll still be a champion if I have to give up one. That would give me the opportunity to face another world champion – defeating four world champions is already in my balance. If I give up the belt I have more opportunities to write history and entertain the fans. If I need to give my belt back, but I’ll take it back.” – Joshua said to Sky Sports.
Eddie Hearn has been very smart in building Joshua’s career, always tactically choosing his opponents, and thanks a lot to AJ’s promoter for Joshua collected these belts. Now, however, Joshua has changed his mind, partly because defeat against Ruiz, and he wons the rematch, the fans’ judgment him. Joshua received a lot of criticism for his defeat, but even after his victory also, that he didn’t risk in second fight. He had a security game that was successful, but he “didn’t serve the audience.” Certainly, a fight and a win against Wilder or Fury would give him much more recognition than, say, defending his IBF belt against Kubrat Pulev. There would be much more interest in it, with Fury, sure to fill a 90,000 arena, not to mention TV viewers. And the match against Wilder would be of worldwide interest.
However, if you give up any of your belts and fight the current WBC World Champion, the winner may not be the undisputed champion again. If so many organizations are involved, when it comes to fighting him, you may have to decide what’s more important to him. And according to her statements, recognizing fans to fight real big battles is more important than the number of belts.