Barring going over potential dates and venues, Shelly Finkel informed WBN that he would send a contract back to Matchroom Boxing by Friday.
This lead to real excitement at the prospect of Joshua facing Wilder in the United Kingdom this year.
Within twelve hours, those dreams got dashed. The WBA swooped in to inform Joshua he would lose his title if he waited for Finkel’s reply with the paperwork.
It’s a hammer blow to a delicate deal that had already been hanging in the balance for weeks.
World Boxing Association President Gilberto Mendoza’s decision has now given Joshua the perfect opportunity to leave Wilder behind. So the Londoner to plow on with an already-planned mandatory contest against Alexander Povetkin.
It all seems as though a deal was doomed from the start as Wilder’s continued acceptance of terms has eventually led him to a dead end.
Two months of talks will go out of the window and significantly impact Wilder and Finkel’s future decision to reignite talks.
Wilder has the option of now pursuing a fight with Tyson Fury. That’s after he’s dealt his mandatory in Dominic Breazeale.
The WBC correctly hadn’t sought that fight (unlike the WBA with Povetkin) to maximize the chances of the Joshua fight being made.
Questions have to be raised about why the WBA is so fiercely ordering Joshua to fight Povetkin when a massive portion of the boxing public would rather see the division fully unified.
The WBA’s statement has directly impacted the situation, leaving Joshua with only two choices; to give up his belt and face Wilder or defend it against Povetkin.
Joshua has a long-standing IBF mandatory with Kubrat Pulev v TBA (taking place in August) to complete after Povetkin. This leaves little chance of the Wilder fight taking place until the summer of 2019.
Fury is the most sensible option for Wilder. However, the returning former ruler may have to pick up the WBA ‘regular’ strap currently in possession of Manuel Charr to spark the interest of ‘The Bronze Bomber’ for next year.
Fingers crossed, two of the three will meet each other soon as the perfect opportunity to do so now looks set to be discarded despite plenty of effort to get it made.
A further statement is expected from Team Wilder on Tuesday. Matchroom could move to make an official announcement of Joshua vs. Povetkin at any point this week.