Anthony Joshua and the Top Prospects in Heavyweight Boxing

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Anthony Joshua and the Top Prospects in Heavyweight Boxing
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Anthony Joshua returns to the ring on Saturday night in Liverpool against his first name opponent in Matt Skelton.

Skelton is a former British and European heavyweight champion who contested the WBA title in 2008, but he has not had a significant win since that year. He was 41 then and is now a less-than-encouraging 47.

This is a reasonable test for Joshua's seventh pro fight, as Skelton looks to become the first man to take the 2012 Olympic champion past the second round.

David Price bombed out Skelton in late 2012 in just two rounds, so that is a benchmark for Joshua to measure himself against.

This is Joshua's fourth fight of the year, and he would have had more if not for injury. He is expected to rack up another two or three contests before the year is out.

If all goes to plan, he will be challenging for British and maybe even European honours next year, before knocking on the door of the world level by 2016.

The future of the heavyweight division is traditionally the most difficult to forecast, with many talented prospects bombing out due to the inability to take a big shot or a lack of grit and determination when the going gets tough.

Not long ago, David Price was the British heir apparent in the division, but two defeats to Tony Thompson put a stop to his previously inexorable progress. Thus far, Joshua has shown no real frailties, but there is a long road ahead.

Here are the other top prospects in the heavyweight division who may one day be contesting global honours with the British Olympian.

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