By Charles Brun: The original short-list of seven heavyweights to face Anthony Joshua on June 1st has been whittled down to just two, Andy Ruiz Jr. and Trevor Bryan, according to Dan Rafael. Ruiz Jr. (32-1, 21 KOs) is the favorite to get the fight with Joshua, but #1 WBA ranked Bryan (20-0, 14 KOs) still has a chance of getting picked.
You hate to say it, but things are looking desperate for Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn. They have a short list of two, but neither of these guys promise to bring in more than a small trickle of fans.
Michael Hunter (16-1, 11 KOs), a heavyweight that Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn recently inked to his Matchroom Boxing USA promotions is no longer in the running for the fight against AJ for some reason. Hearn liked the idea of matching Hunter, 31, against Joshua. What might have led Hearn to remove Hunter’s name from the list is he’s already scheduled to fight on the undercard of the Oleksandr Usyk vs. Carlos Takam card on May 25 on DAZN at Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Hunter is someone that could come in useful for Hearn to mix and match against his other heavyweights like Usyk, Murat Gassiev, Zhilei Zhang, Dereck Chisora, Dillian Whyte, David Price, Filip Hrgovic and Dave Allen. Within a short period of time, Hearn has accumulated a high number of heavyweights to his DAZN stable, and he needs to keep adding to that list so that he can match them against each other.
“I’m told by sources it’s now a two-man race to land the fight with Anthony Joshua on June 1 with Andy Ruiz Jr. the favorite but Trevor Bryan still in the hunt. #boxing #JoshuaTBA,” Dan Rafael said on his Twitter.
Ruiz Jr., 29, is the better option of the two, but he fights for Premier Boxing Champions, and that could make the negotiations a long and drawn out process. Whether it’ll be worth it or not for Hearn to slowly hammer out a deal for Joshua to fight Ruiz is the big question. It might not be worth it for how little he brings to the table. Ruiz Jr. might bring in soe boxing fans but not a huge amount.
Bryan has an impressive 20-0 record, but he’s fought absolutely nobody during his eight-year pro career. I mean, he’s fought NOBODY. The best names on Trevor Bryan’s resume are these two fighters: Derric Rossy and BJ Flores. It’s hard to believe that Bryan has gone through eight years of his career, and this is all he has to show for it. He has a failure to launch. The World Boxing Association doesn’t seem to mind that Bryan hasn’t fought any quality heavyweights, because they’ve gone ahead and ranked him at #1.