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WBA orders Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin negotiations to start

Alexander Povetkin Anthony Joshua

By Scott Gilfoid: The World Boxing Association has officially ordered the fight between WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin. The management for the two fighters has 30 days to negotiate the fight before a purse bid takes place.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is saying that AJ will either fight Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) or WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder next. The odd man out is Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, who Hearn had been talking about wanting to potentially face Joshua in the summer. The WBA has taken that option away from Hearn by ordering the Joshua-Povetkin fight. Joshua can still bypass the Povetkin fight, but only if he faces Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) in a unification match.

If Joshua fights Povetkin next in the summer, it might put AJ on the shelf for the remainder of the year if he takes punishment to the head the way David Price did in his fight with Povetkin last Saturday night. Price’s face is going to take a long time to heal up from the damage Povetkin’s powerful fists did to it. Joshua is going to need to bring Wladimir Klitschko to his training camp so he can learn more of his defensive tactics and his fancy footwork if he doesn’t want to take a pounding from Povetkin. Joshua looks like he’s just learned a few things from Wladimir, but he needs to know a lot more not to get worn out by Povetkin.

Povetkin looked good last Saturday night in smashing the towering 6’8” David Price to smithereens in knocking him out in the 5th round with a beautiful right-left combination at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. This was the performance of the night by Povetkin, as he took the show from Joshua and WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker.

“The WBA called the mandatory yesterday for AJ to face Povetkin next,” Hearn said to skysports.com. “We have a 30-day window to negotiate – at this stage it means it’s very likely Anthony’s next fight will be between Wilder or Povetkin.”

My guess is Hearn will opt for the Povetkin fight next for Joshua rather than going for the dangerous fight with Wilder. I see Hearn as the time that likes to put off the dangerous fights for as long as possible when it comes to Joshua and his other fighters in his Matchroom Boxing stable. That means Povetkin will be next followed by the Wilder fight in December if AJ doesn’t suffer too much facial damage from the powerful Russian fighter.

Povetkin’s promoter wants to stage the Joshua fight in a big 81,000 seat stadium in Moscow, Russia. You can expect that Joshua’s Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is probably going to resist that idea in a major way.

The negotiations have already begun for the Joshua-Wilder fight. You can bet that the WBA’s new decision to order the Joshua-Povetkin fight will put more pressure on Hearn to try and get the Joshua vs. Wilder negotiations done as fast as possible before the purse bid from the WBA takes place in 30 days. Povetkin, 38, is not a sure thing win for Joshua like his recent fights against Parker, Carlos Takam and 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko. Povetkin has punching power, and he’s a smarter fighter that knows how to get the better of taller guys like Joshua.

Look what Povetkin did to the 6’8” Price last Saturday. Povetkin’s power shots fracture Price’s nose and created large cuts inside his mouth and his left eye that required 42 stitches to close. That was just in 5 rounds of action. Just imagine what Povetkin could have done had this fight gone the full 12 rounds. Joshua isn’t the hardest fighter to hit despite being tall at 6’5”. If Povetkin was able to get to the 6’8” Price, 6’7” Mariusz Wach, 6’5” Johann Duhaupas and 6’5” Andrzej Wawrzyk with his big power shots to knock them out, then you can believe that he’ll be able to get to Joshua as well.

”Povetkin is now a mandatory contender of Anthony Joshua. He was appointed by WBA. Now there are 150 days to arrange the fight, it must take place. Before the fight with Sasha, Joshua has no right to fight with anybody else. We have 30 days to negotiate@EddieHearn,” Povetkin’s promoters at World of Boxing said on their Twitter on Friday.

Joshua, 28, wants to unify the heavyweight by beating Wilder to win the last title not in his possession, the WBC belt. However, with the WBA now ordering Joshua to face Povetkin, it complicates matters a little. It pushes the timetable of considerably for one of those two fights. Hearn and Joshua need to make up their minds which one they want. If they want to make the fight with Deontay, 6’7”, next, then they’re going to need to open up their pocket books and come up with the money needed for them to make the unification fight with him possible. Wilder isn’t going to take the fight for nothing. Wilder, 32, has asked for a generous cut of 50 percent in the past, but he’s likely going to be reasonable by lower his demands to make the fight easier to negotiation. Anywhere from 55-45 to 60-40 would be a fair deal for Wilder.

Hearn and Joshua can’t afford to get too greedy when they’re sitting at the negotiation table with Deontay and his manager Al Haymon, because they’re not going to agree to a deal that they feel isn’t fair to what they bring to the table for this fight. Wilder vs. Joshua is the biggest fight in heavyweight boxing that can be made today. Tyson Fury vs. Joshua could be even bigger, but it will depend largely on his Fury looks in when he eventually makes his comeback in June or whenever. Its unlikely Fury will look good enough to create huge interest in a fight between him and Joshua. As such, Wilder-Joshua is the biggest fight that can be made in the division today with the fighters that are relevant today. Right now, Fury is yesterday’s news. It’s up to him to try and himself relevant again by beating some good fighters and show that he’s not just coming back for a quick cash out fight.


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