WBA orders Anthony Joshua to sign for Alexander Povetkin fight within 24 hours

By Boxing News - 06/26/2018 - Comments

Image: WBA orders Anthony Joshua to sign for Alexander Povetkin fight within 24 hours

By Scott Gilfoid: The World Boxing Association is ready to order champion Anthony Joshua to defend his WBA heavyweight title against mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin. The WBA will be ordering the fight within 24 hours, according to Sky Sports News.

I hate to say it but the WBA giving Joshua a 24-hour deadline to sign for the Povetkin fight helps him in a MAJOR way because it gets him out of the Deontay Wilder fight, which many boxing fans feel he never wanted. If Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn don’t want the Wilder fight, they now have the perfect excuse to give to the boxing public by telling them the WBA gave them a 24 hour deadline to agree to the Povetkin fight.

The WBA’s deadline also helps Team Joshua, because it will pressure Wilder’s management to end negotiations quickly and either agrees to the contract that Hearn has given him or walk away from the fight. Either way, it’s a win-win for Joshua and Hearn.

The WBA has been willing to allow Joshua to fight WBC champion Wilder in a unification match in his next fight. Deontay’s management still wants some changes to the contract that Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing sent over to them. It’s up to Hearn whether he’ll make the minor changes that Team Wilder wants for the fight to go ahead. This is something that could be done before the WBA’ 24 hour deadline is up, but it would depend on Hearn. If he doesn’t want to agree to the changes that Wilder’s manager, then the fight might not happen.

What this means is the Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder unification fight is in jeopardy, as AJ doesn’t wish to give up his WBA title in order to make the fight take place with the Bronze Bomber. Joshua wants to collect all the titles in the heavyweight division, even though he could quickly recapture the WBA title if he gave it up. It’s not as if there are a ton of highly talented fighters in the heavyweight division for Joshua to worry about. There are basically only two of them in Deontay and Luis Ortiz.

“Today the WBA requested an answer from Anthony Joshua’s team regarding his fight with the mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin,” WBA president Gilberto Mendoza said to skysports.com. “It appears the Wilder team have not returned the contract for the fight and therefore we are requesting a date for the Joshua versus Povetkin fight with immediate effect.”

Povetkin is the fight that fans felt that Joshua and Hearn wanted all along. And now that the WBA has given Joshua a 24 hour deadline to ink with Povetkin, he now has the perfect escape plan to get out of the fight. I’d like to think that Joshua will have Hearn agree to the minor changes that Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel wants in the contract before they’ll agree to sign it before the 24-hour deadline is up, but I don’t think they will. If the idea is not to have to face Wilder, I see Hearn choosing to reject any changes in his contract.