After unified WBA and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua's rumored rematch against Wladimir Klitschko is nixed due to Klitschko's retirement, the WBA is now pressing harder than ever for Joshua and Luis Ortiz to fight.
The governing sent out this statement hours the same day the former WBA champion announced his retirement, saying Joshua and Ortiz must now agree to a fight by early September. Should both parties be unable to reach an agreement, a purse bid will be ordered.
The World Boxing Association Championships Committee ordered the teams behind British Anthony Joshua, current Heavyweight Champion, and Cuban Luis Ortiz, number one in the ranking at more than 200 pounds, to start negotiations for a fight between them.
According to the resolution sent on January 11th, 2017, to both parties, it was reported that the winner of the Joshua-Klitschko fight, held on April 29th, 2017, had to face Ortiz after 120 days. 95 days have passed and, for this reason, the Championships Committee ordered to negotiate a fight between the British and Cuban boxers.
Both parties were duly notified that, as of August 3rd, they have 30 days to reach an agreement or the fight will be called to purse bids.
The WBA's ruling now puts an even bigger monkey wrench into the heavyweight title scene. Joshua wanted the rematch with Klitschko, but since that's no longer an option, Joshua would likely face IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. Ortiz and Joshua has been the target of WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder's focus as of late. Wilder had been trying to secure a fight with Ortiz instead of fighting mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne.
Joshua vs. Klitschko 2 was rumored to take place in Las Vegas in November, but the fight, nor the date, was ever made official, leaving Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn the possibility of using that date to hold a fight against either Pulev or Ortiz.