Anthony Joshua has been given a 24-hour deadline to sign to fight Russian Alexander Povetkin or face being stripped of a portion of his world heavyweight title.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has been negotiating for a unification bout with WBC titlist Deontay Wilder but the WBA has lost patience and wants him to face its own mandatory challenger.
WBA president Gilberto Mendoza said in a statement: “Today the WBA requested an answer from Anthony Joshua’s team regarding his fight with the mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.
“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 versus Povetkin fight with immediate effect.”
The demand will not cause Joshua’s team too many issues given negotiations with the Wilder camp appear to be deadlocked and former champion
Povetkin represents the next-best bet for a stadium-filling autumn bout.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn had indicated he was close to agreeing a deal with Wilder, but the American’s team claim to be holding out for “clarifications”.
Povetkin, who held the WBA’s ‘regular’ title between 2011 and 2013, beat Briton David Price in his last fight in March on the undercard of Joshua’s win over Joseph Parker in Cardiff.
The Principality Stadium would be favourite to host the prospective contest between Joshua and Povetkin, confirmation of which would delay a clash with Wilder until at least next year.
British boxer Amir Khan launched the Super Boxing League in Pakistan with a host of cricket bigwigs part of the new venture.
According to a report in The Dawn, Khan is promoting the event that is being backed by British businessman Bill Dosanjh.
Khan will be the league’s chairman along with Salman Iqbal – CEO of ARY Digital Network and owner of PSL franchise Karachi Kings. The league will feature eight teams owned by cricket stars and and showbiz celebrities.
Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi announced he is the owner of Pakhtoon Warriors, while legendary pacer Wasim Akram leads the Multan Nawabs.
According to the report, the eight teams will represent Pakistan cities of Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Multan, Sialkot and Quetta.
The SBL is being organised in association with the World Boxing Council and is scheduled to be held from September 28 to November 3 at the Amir Khan Boxing Academy in Islamabad.
Tyson Fury will be eased back towards championship contention by his promoter Frank Warren but must surely face sterner tests than his farcical four-round comeback win over Sefer Seferi.
Here, we look at five possibilities for future Fury fights in the months ahead.
The 33-year-old German is the current holder of the so-called ‘regular’ WBA heavyweight title, which he next defends against perennial contender Fres Oquendo in September. Charr – who was taken to 10 rounds by Seferi in 2016 – represents a low-key and relatively risk-free route for Fury to claim back some kind of heavyweight crown.
It is hard to say which was more predictable – Fury’s facile win over Seferi or the Liverpool fighter subsequently calling him out on Twitter. Bellew, a master of pre-fight hype, is looking for his next big challenge after two consecutive wins over David Haye, and a contest with Fury would be sure to capture the public imagination – albeit possibly for the wrong reasons.
A rare opponent who could match Fury for size, the likeable Liverpool heavyweight has been found wanting towards the top level and his future is in doubt after a recent crushing loss to Alexander Povetkin. But Price would surely fancy the chance to resurrect his career with a big win – and likewise few could argue if Fury dealt convincingly with such an imposing future.
A lively contender who gave Joshua something to think about in 2015, Whyte could find his stock raised again if he defeats Joseph Parker in an intriguing non-title bout in London in July. Either way, the winner will cement himself as one of the most prominent contenders in the division, making them an ideal foe for Fury as he nears his dream of reclaiming his heavyweight crowns.
THE WEALDSTONE RAIDER
The pint-sized internet sensation crashed Fury’s pre-fight press conference and frankly could be guaranteed to show more aggression than that offered by Seferi. As the sport lurches deeper into pantomime, such a contest can surely not be discounted.