Before AJ took care of business with a five-round beating of the dangerous Swede, Germany’s Agit Kabayel had produced a terrific performance to stun the previously unbeaten Russian giant Arslanbek Makhmudov.
European heavyweight champion Kabayel (now 24-0 with 16 wins inside distance) dealt with all of the big bombs Makhmudov tried to fling in his direction, and then went on the offensive to hammer out a fourth-round stoppage victory.
It was a performance which really impressed the pundits, and Joshua for one was unsurprised by events in the desert. He has sparred Kabayel in the past, and revealed that he could have met him last month if that huge Riyadh card had not happened.
Joshua on Kabayel
Joshua said: “I’ve known Agit for a long time – me and Agit have done many good rounds together in the gym – we’ve worked together. I sparred Agit’s previous opponent Agron [Smakici] – they had a great fight together. I know Agit is a fierce heavyweight in the division.
“I was gonna fight Agit if I wasn’t gonna fight the ‘Day of Reckoning’ – we were in negotiations. The reason why I wanted to fight him – he’s undefeated and he’s a great fighter and I want to test myself and challenge myself and put my skills up against his skills.”
Now Joshua has belief that Kabayel will continue to his rise to the elite ranks of the heavyweight division – and expects to meet the German in the ring pretty soon.
“I think Agit can go a long way if he stays dedicated, which I’m sure he will. And I’m sure we will meet very very soon.”
Who is next for Anthony Joshua?
Joshua is expected to be out again in March, but it does not appear Kabayel will be the opponent this time around. Promoter Eddie Hearn listed a trio of potential AJ foes this week – top IBF contender Filip Hrgovic, Chinese star Zhilei Zhang and former UFC heavyweight king Francis Ngannou.
A fight vs Hrgovic could potentially see two-time heavyweight king Joshua fighting for a world title again if the IBF belt does become vacant following that enormous Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk unification match on February 17.