ANTHONY JOSHUA could announce his next fight by the end of the week. Joshua unified the WBA, IBF and WBO world titles earlier this year. The heavyweight champion could defend against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin or go for a major unification showdown with WBC titlist Deontay Wilder.
“The Povetkin deal is virtually done,” promoter Eddie Hearn said. “The Wilder one is not, but we’re talking every day. It’s just a case of whether we get that done. Joshua would like to fight in September; the Wilder fight doesn’t really work in September, mainly because of the Canelo [Alvarez] fight; the PPV doesn’t really work out. If he fights Wilder it’ll be October, November in the UK, and if he fights Povetkin it’ll be in September. It’ll either be Povetkin then Wilder, or Wilder then Povetkin, but if it’s Povetkin next, the Wilder fight will definitely be signed before we go into that fight.”
Hearned continued, “There’s still a lot on the [Wilder] deal that hasn’t been agreed, and worked out. Wilder understands he has to go where Joshua tells him to – he knows, and he understands that – and at the moment Joshua’s telling him, ‘You have to come to the UK’. He knows; he’s up for that, but there’s a lot of things that have to be worked out.”
Barry Hearn and Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s manager met recently in New York. “If I was Shelly Finkel I’d think, ‘I can’t stand Eddie.’ So sometimes it’s easier to send in the old guard, let them have a cup of coffee, and it worked well,” Eddie said.
Joshua vs Povetkin could take place at Wembley, Twickenham, or Old Trafford. “A deal will be done with Wilder in the next month, but we will probably move on a Povetkin fight before that. Wilder would be December at the earliest; probably February,” Hearn said. “The Wilder one is not as close as [the Povetkin deal] that but anything can happen; this fight [Dillian Whyte vs Joseph Parker] was made in 48 hours.”
Hearn reckons Povetkin will be a difficult fight. “It’s an incredibly risky fight; it might be a little bit of a mad fight to take before Wilder,” he said, “but that’s Joshua. He doesn’t care. He wants a challenge; he doesn’t want easy fights.”