WBA decide enough is enough with Joshua

The World Boxing Association has run out of patience and has ordered Anthony Joshua to agree to fight mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin. The WBA have decided that enough is enough after no progress has been made for the Brit to fight Deontay Wilder.

Hopes of a unification bout between Britain’s Anthony Joshua and American Deontay Wilder appear to be over as the World Boxing Association tell Joshua’s camp that they have 24 hours to agree a fight with mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin, otherwise they will strip Joshua of his WBA title.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has been involved in negotiations for a unification bout with WBC champion Deontay Wilder since Joshua beat Joseph Parker on points to claim his 21st straight career win. However, despite plenty of rhetoric from both camps on social media, the lack of progress has led the WBA to stand in.

Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua was expected to face Deontay Wilder in his next fight but a lack of agreement has meant that the WBA has ordered the Brit to fight Alexander Povetkin. A war of words has broken out between the fighters’ management teams with both parties blaming each other.

Joshua had publicly stated he wanted to fight Wilder next. In an interview after the Joseph Parker fight the 28-year-old from Watford said:

I want Wilder or Fury. Get Wilder in the ring and I’ll knock him spark out. Wilder let’s go baby, let’s go! I’m not interested in coming to America. All these years, we’ve gone to the States, people have spent a lot of money following British boxers over there. [But] we can do it in London, Cardiff. We are staying right here.Anthony Joshua, Boxer

However with no breakthrough in talks between the pair, unbeaten Deontay Wilder took to Twitter and launched an expletive ridden attack on Joshua and Hearn, accusing them of cowardliness.

It is alleged that the reason talks broke down was that the contract sent to Wilder failed to contain dates or even a location for the fight. Wilder’s camp were also annoyed that the contract only contained a re-match clause if Antony Joshua lost.

So, with the breakdown in talks between the boxers’ management teams and the intervention of the WBA, it looks likely that there will be a match-up between Joshua and Alexander Povetkin on Sept 22nd or Sept 29th at one of London’s biggest arenas, Twickenham or the London Olympic Stadium.

And while Povetkin doesn’t have the box office appeal that a unification fight between Wilder and Joshua would generate, Povetkin is by no means an easy challenge. The Russian has only lost once in a 34-fight career and that was by means of decision in his 2013 fight with Klitschko. He was the Russian Olympic gold winner and has 24 KO’s to his name. He held the WBA title for three years before his only defeat at the hands of Klitschko.

Povetkin perhaps hasn’t enjoyed the credit he should have done in the boxing world, partly due to twice being caught using performance-enhancing drugs. But anyone who saw Povetkin’s last fight against Liverpool’s David Price will have no doubts about Povetkin’s danger and punching ability.

Even Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn acknowledged how dangerous a fighter the Russian is:

I think it’s a mad fight to take with the Wilder fight at the door, but that’s AJ. He thinks him and Povetkin is a great fight, a great statement and he’s one of the best heavyweights. He’s not taking easy touches waiting for Wilder. By fighting these guys, Wilder can’t say he’s afraid to fight him.Eddie Hearn, Boxing promoter

Chances are a Wilder v Joshua fight will happen but it’s unlikely to be this year. A blockbuster fight between the two is now more probable in April 2019. It’s a risk from both camps, as if either fighter loses their titles, the public will have more interest in a unification bout between the victors.

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