Joshua set for Povetkin clash

Anthony Joshua is set to face Russian Alexander Povetkin in his next fight.

The British superstar’s camp has been in talks with WBC champion Deontay Wilder about staging a unification bout, but talks have stalled.

Now the WBA have ruled that he needs to fight their number one mandatory challenger Povetkin.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said: “We can’t do a lot more than we’re doing. I think Anthony’s frustrated that he feels people feel that he might not want the fight (with Wilder). He wants that fight more than anything.

“We sent the contract nearly nine days ago now. We’re not even necessarily expecting a signed contract back – we just want your comments.

“If I wanted a fight, my fighter wanted a fight, and we received a contract, we would be back with the comments within 24 hours. Nothing makes sense here at all.

“(Team Wilder) emailed me on Sunday and said, ‘We will be back with our comments on Friday’. Why do you need another five or six days?”

“They know we’re under pressure from the WBA and it all feels like a big game. This Wilder fight is one that has to get done and has to get signed. It’s a fight we desperately want.

“But at the same time we’re not going to give up a belt and we’re not going to lose a belt to the WBA for ordering the mandatory, and if Povetkin’s ready to go, then that will be next.”

Bookmakers have wasted little time in making Joshua’s odds-on favourite to beat Povetkin with Coral listing him at 1/10.

“It’s come as disappointing news to boxing fans hoping that Deontay Wilder would be next on Joshua’s hit list, but we expect the world heavyweight champion to make light work of the Russian here on route to finally booking in the clash with the Bronze Bomber,” said Coral’s Harry Aitkenhead.

Coral have also priced up the Joshua vs Wilder bout should it happen, with the UK’s man again odds on although this time at 4-9. Wilder is 7/4 to claim the win.

“It would be tougher than Povetkin, without a doubt, but we again have AJ as the odds on favourite for when he takes on Wilder. It’s also odds on in this one that Joshua would win by knockout in the fight that everybody wants to see,” added Aitkenhead.



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