Anthony Joshua looks set to avoid a fight with Deontay Wilder this year and focus on a mandatory battle with Alexander Povetkin.
Despite Wilder’s team exclusively informing WBN on Monday that their side of paperwork will be sent by the end of the week, it seems the WBA has lost its patience.
Joshua will now delay a massive undisputed unification with Wilder to keep all his titles intact against Povetkin.
“Today, the WBA requested an answer from Anthony Joshua’s team regarding his fight with the mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin,” WBA President Gilberto Mendoza said in a statement on the matter.
“The WBA have allowed over a month extension to negotiations with Povetkin and also ongoing discussions with Deontay Wilder.”
“It appears the Wilder team have not returned the contract for the fight, and therefore we are requesting a date for the Joshua v Povetkin fight with immediate effect.”
That date looks set to be September at London’s Wembley Stadium or Cardiff’s Principality, the venue for Joshua’s last two outings.
Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s co-manager and advisor, had originally outlined their next move before the WBA then stepped in to hand Joshua his chance to back out.
“First of all, I want to make it clear that Deontay Wilder wants this fight more than Anthony Joshua does.
“It is evidenced by the fact that Wilder accepted a flat purse for this fight, which is unheard of for a fight of this magnitude.
“He also has accepted to fight Anthony Joshua in the UK. In contrast, Anthony Joshua did not accept a $50 million-dollar offer (which Joshua originally asked for) plus a percentage to fight Wilder in the U.S,” Finkel exclusively told World Boxing News in a call on Monday.
“Eddie thinks I dislike him. He is wrong. I have a difference of opinion with him of what a fact is. When I state something is a fact, I have written proof to back it up. I dare Eddie to do the same.
“To clear up one other fallacy, Eddie knows that they have a written term sheet from us which details our $50 million-dollar offer for Anthony Joshua to fight Deontay Wilder in the U.S. We have never received from them a response to this term sheet.
“Below is the correct chronology of where we are with the contract for the Anthony Joshua Deontay Wilder mega-fight:
On June 11, 2018, Deontay Wilder accepted Matchroom’s offer to fight Anthony Joshua in the UK. This took Matchroom by surprise, never thinking that Wilder would accept their below-market offer.
Shortly after, Eddie Hearn went public, saying that we would receive a contract by Friday, June 15th. When in fact, we did not receive a contract until late on Monday, June 18th.
On Tuesday, June 19th, we requested clarification of two points. They did not respond.
I requested them again on Thursday, June 21st, and we finally received a response on Friday, June 22nd.
Two days later, on Sunday, June 24th, I sent them a letter acknowledging Eddie’s email of June 22, telling them they would have the contract back by Friday, June 29th.
“Since the contract did not state the date or the venue, I also asked for that information.
“These are the facts, and Matchroom will have the contracts back to them by Friday, June 29th,” he added.
Finkel’s plans are now likely to be left null and void as Joshua edges closer to an official announcement to defend his belts against the Russian former world champion.
Joshua could conceivably continue with a fight against Wilder but would almost certainly be a title lighter. That’s unless he requested further special dispensation from the WBA.