London - Britain's
world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has been given a 24-hour
deadline to agree a fight with Russia's Alexander Povetkin or risk being
stripped of one of his titles.
Joshua added the World Boxing
Organisation heavyweight belt to the World Boxing Association and
International Boxing Federation straps he already held when he beat New
Zealand's Joseph Parker in Cardiff in March.
Since then Joshua's
promoter, Eddie Hearn, has been trying to set up a unification bout with
World Boxing Association heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, but has
not yet managed to do a deal with the American's camp.
But the WBA are tired of waiting and have now told Joshua he must fight Povetkin, their mandatory challenger.
president Gilberto Mendoza, in a statement issued Tuesday, said: "Today
the WBA requested an answer from Anthony Joshua's team regarding his
fight with the mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.
"The WBA have allowed over a month extension to negotiations with Povetkin and also ongoing discussions with Deontay Wilder.
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."
Given talks with Wilder appear to be
stalled while his management seek "clarification" over the terms of a
fight contract, a contest with Povetkin may well represent the 'next
best bout' for London 2012 Olympic champion Joshua, who is unbeaten as a
Joshua, 28, won his first world title in 2016 and has made five defences, taking his record to 21-0 with 20 knockouts.
32, improved to 40-0 with 39 knockouts when he knocked out previously
unbeaten Cuban Luis Ortiz in the tenth round in Brooklyn, New York, on
Povetkin demonstrated his considerable punching power
with a fearsome knockout of Britain's David Price on the undercard of
Joshua's win over Parker at Cardiff's Principality Stadium.
known for staging Wales rugby union internationals, the Principality -
which has a capacity of over 73 000 - could also play host to a
Were that fight to take place later this
year, it would likely mean any bout between Joshua and Wilder would be
delayed until 2019 at the earliest.