With negotiations between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder at a crossroads, promoter Eddie Hearn said there is a realistic chance the unified heavyweight champion will fight Alexander Povetkin next.
Hearn spoke with Sky Sports and said although he doesn’t like making deadlines, a decision on if the superfight between the two heavyweight champions will happen soon has to be made. Hearn said Joshua’s backup option is to fight Povetkin who is the mandatory challenger to Joshua’s WBA heavyweight title and that a deal for a fight against Povetkin is near completion.
"We are close to closing a deal with Povetkin and once the deal is closed, there is no Deontay Wilder. They have our offer so they have to accept it or move on. It’s not a case of if you don’t accept this offer the fight is dead, we will just fight Povetkin and carry on our negotiations to the next one," Hearn said.
Negotiations between Joshua and Wilder have been tense at times, with several offers being thrown around by both sides, including a $50 million offer from Wilder. Hearn said that he has given Wilder an offer that is better than the British promoter’s original offer and has been sitting on it for two weeks.
Povetkin, who holds the WBA Intercontinental and WBO International heavyweight titles, fought in the co-main event bout of Joshua’s March 31 win over Joseph Parker. Povetkin knocked out David Price in the fifth round and in April, the WBA ordered Joshua, who also holds the IBF and WBO titles, to fight Povetkin next.