Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn held a meeting with WBO and WBA mandatory heavyweight challenger Alexander Povetkin’s promoter Andriy Ryabinskiy on Monday in a move that could go one of two ways.
Povetkin has been stipulated as the number one contender for Joshua’s WBA strap, with the World Boxing Association going so far as to set a deadline of this month for an agreement between the pair.
As Joshua is keen to face Deontay Wilder next, Hearn would be seeking out a deal with Povetkin, Ryabinskiy and representative Vadim Kornilov to step aside and allow the undisputed unification to take place.
Hearn posted they enjoyed a ‘good meeting’ when taking to social media to highlight their chat, with some fans immediately making the assumption that Joshua will fight Povetkin next.
It’s true the fight will be the next move should the Wilder clash fall apart, although Hearn would no doubt have discussed what would happen if Joshua gets his wish to contest the American’s green belt.
— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) May 14, 2018
WBN understands that a deal between Joshua and Wilder has never been closer and could be official by the end of May, whilst Povetkin could be handed a shot at Manuel Charr or be pitted against Fres Oquendo for the WBA ‘regular’ title in the interim.
This would appease Ryabinskiy, coupled with some financial compensation from Hearn, and stave off what could be a deal-breaker with the WBA’s purse bid looming.
Povetkin had already ruled out fighting Dillian Whyte despite interest on both sides but could earn more from that encounter than anything involving the lesser-regarded WBA belt.
The Russian versus Whyte would be solid co-feature for Joshua v Wilder at Wembley Stadium and all depends on how amicable the conference was between Matchroom and World of Boxing.
All will be revealed soon.