The WBA has set a hard deadline for Anthony Joshua to complete a deal to have him defend his heavyweight title against mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.
WBA President Gilberto Mendoza released a statement earlier this morning saying Joshua has only 24 hours to agree to a deal with Povetkin after given two months to work out a deal. Joshua is currently negotiating a deal against WBC champion Deontay Wilder, but talks have somewhat stalled after both sides agreed to terms on the fight.
Below is the statement by Mendoza:
“Today the WBA requested an answer from Anthony Joshua’s team regarding his fight with mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin. The WBA [has] allowed over a month extension to negotiations with Povetkin and also ongoing discussions with Deontay Wilder. 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.”
After Joshua unified the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles against Joseph Parker back in April, Joshua was ordered to fight Povetkin. Povetkin, who holds the WBA Intercontinental and WBO International heavyweight titles, last fought as the co-feature bout of Joshua's fight against Parker. Povetkin knocked out David Price in the fifth round to retain the titles he won back in the summer of 2017.
Although a fight against Wilder is by far the more lucrative bout for Joshua compared to Povetkin, Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn also told Sky Sports that he will not hesitate to fight Povetkin in order to keep the WBA title and then have Joshua fight Wilder at a later date.
Joshua first won the WBA title back in 2017 when Joshua knocked out former champion Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round of their bout which ended up winning Fightful's Boxing Fight of the Year for 2017. Joshua has successfully defended the WBA title twice since then.