Eddie Hearn has made the clearest indication yet that Alexander Povetkin will be next for Anthony Joshua and not Deontay Wilder.
“At the moment, we are fighting Povetkin,” Hearn told Boxing News.
“We want to fight in September but September doesn’t work with Wilder because of Showtime.
“If we fight Wilder it would probably be October, November but if we fight Povetkin it will be September.
“All I can say is that I think this fight will get signed but it’s whether we fight Povetkin first.“
It’s been the worst kept secret that Wilder has verbally agreed that WBC No.1 challenger Dominic Breazeale will be his next opponent. This would explain the delayed negotiations between team Joshua and Wilder’s advisers and not the venue.
The WBA have put the pressure on Matchroom Boxing to get a deal agreed with Povetkin’s team or risk the fight going to purse bids. Which would be a disaster for Hearn and Joshua considering the amount of clout the Russian has behind him.
The likelihood of big Josh facing his 38-year-old mandatroy challenger next has increased day by day with time is running out for an undisputed heavyweight contest being finalised.
Hearn issued a deadline last week and Bary Hearn did meet with Shelly Finkel on Friday. Bary Hearn told Sky Sports exclusively, “I think the bluster is gone and we’re now at the stage where there’s real decisions to be made in the next few days. I’m very happy to say I’ve done my bit.
“Eddie and his team take over, as always, and the last word comes from the man himself. Wherever we go, it has to have the approval of AJ, because he’s the main man.”
Eddie Hearn has been looking at possible venues for both fights issuing this latest update: “Wembley Stadium is a venue being considered and so is the Olympic Stadium (West Ham FC) and Twickenham (England Rugby Stadium). Dates could be September 15 or 22. But Hearn did note “But the 8th is available at Old Trafford (Manchester United FC).
“That’s 15 weeks away now so to do a Wilder fight, you’d want to give it the build up it deserves. If Povetkin is September then Wilder probably won’t happen until February. That would mean we would probably go to Cardiff.
“We wanted September because there was the possibility of places like Wembley.
“But if you go October or November then it becomes Cardiff, where we have done two fights on the bounce.”
Clearly Joshua wants the fight and has left the ball in Wilder’s court to make a decision on whether he wants it now or next year. Hearn continued, “I really do think the Wilder fight will happen but it’s just whether or not it’s next.
“It won’t be any more than the one after Povetkin, that’s the maximum wait.”
I’m guessing a contract may well be signed but only IF they both win their fights against Povetkin and Breazeale first. This is a massive gamble by both camps as defeat could blow everything out of the water. I’m sure they will both have rematch clauses in place so defeat would not be a complete disaster but it would delay the fight even further plus lose a bit of glamour with the boxing faithful.