Anthony Joshua will have to face Alexander Povetkin at some point in 2018 after the World Boxing Association confirmed the former world title holder as mandatory recently.
Povetkin defeated Christian Hammer in December and chose the WBA over the WBO number one spot and looks set to challenger Joshua by the year’s end.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has been mapping out the possible scenarios for the current three-belt king’s run to 2019 and says Povetkin is likely to be stipulated.
One thing Hearn stated won’t happen though, is Joshua giving Povetkin home advantage in Russia.
“(I expect the WBA) to call it in the summer, so maybe December (Joshua and Povetkin will fight),” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“Financially, (World of Boxing Russia, Povetkin’s promoters) have stated that they would rather come to the UK. We won’t be going to Russia.
“At some point in 2018, it is likely (Anthony) will have to fight Povetkin. We’ll see then,” he added.
‘AJ’ must firstly get through a unification with Joseph Parker on March 31 in Cardiff, whilst WBC ruler Deontay Wilder has made his feelings known regarding a potential five-belt battle with the winner.
At this point in time, it seems Povetkin would be more feasible to happen in the summer before a massive collision with Wilder in Las Vegas at the back of this year.
Despite Hearn and Joshua both stating their intentions to embark on a world tour in 2018, fights in Nigeria, Dubai or the USA have so far failed to materialize, meaning taking on Wilder in the boxing capital of the world could well be in their respective thoughts.
Headlining on Showtime Pay-Per-View against Wilder in his home country would be a lucrative option for Joshua, who has largely been topping stadiums in the UK since beginning his domination of the paid format in Britain against arch-rival Dillian Whyte.