By Jeff Aranow: Promoter Eddie Hearn says former WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin is currently deciding whether to fight for the mandatory position for the WBA or WBO heavyweight titles. If Povetkin fights for the WBA mandatory spot, he could set himself up for a fight against either WBA ‘regular’ champion Manuel Charr or WBA Super World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
It would be up to the World Boxing Association. Povetkin would face Christian Hammer if he were to fight for the WBO mandatory spot to get a title shot against WBO champion Joseph Parker. That title might be the hands of Joshua anyway by the time Povetkin defeats Hammer to earn the WBO mandatory spot.
“We have spoken about Joshua vs. Povetkin, and the likelihood of that,” said Hearn to skysports.com. ”We have a really good relationship with World of Boxing, who are his [Povetkin] promoters. They have a situation where they can fight a final eliminator to be the mandatory for Joshua, or for the WBO, so they are making that decision now,” said Hearn.
Povetkin is ranked #2 with the WBA, and Hammer #3. Fres Oquendo is rated #1 with the WBA, but he’s going to get a title shot anyway. He doesn’t have to fight an eliminator.
Luis Ortiz was the WBA mandatory challenger recently, but he lost that position after he tested positive for 2 banned drugs while training for a fight against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. The WBA will be picking a new one. Either the WBA will select a mandatory or they’ll make 2 of the top contenders fight for the mandatory spot. Again, that would probably be Povetkin fighting Hammer. Povetkin I 39-year-old, but he’s still fighting at a very high level and looking good. If there has been some slippage from the Russian Povetkin, it’s not enough for him to lose to a fighter like Hammer. Povetkin would struggle against someone like Luis Ortiz or Jarrell Miller, but not against Hammer at this point.
“I’m due to speak to [WBA president] Gilberto Mendoza, who may come to the UK in December,” Hearn said. “Luis Ortiz was the mandatory but has been banned so there will be a new one. Manuel Charr has won the ‘regular’ title but they are not looking at him as a mandatory challenger. Alexander Povetkin is fighting Christian Hammer which could be the final eliminator to be Joshua’s mandatory.”
Povetkin would be a tough fight for Joshua if the two of them face each other before he gets much older. It’s still unlikely that Povetkin will get a crack at Joshua until 2019, even if he does become the WBA mandatory challenger.