Anthony Joshua Ordered To Confirm Alexander Povetkin Fight In 24 Hours
Anthony Joshua's potential fight with Deontay Wilder to decide the undisputed heavyweight champion looks unlikely to happen this year after the WBA gave the Brit 24 hours to make his fight with Alexander Povetkin.
AJ and Wilder have looked on a collision course for quite some time and when Joshua beat Joseph Parker to win the WBO title in March it meant between him and the 'Bronze Bomber' they had all of the heavyweight divisions major titles.
That means a fight between the pair would be to decide the undisputed heavyweight king, a rarity in the sport.
Both sides have talked about a deal being done but that now seems dead in water, for the rest of the year, with Joshua being ordered by the WBA to defend that title against number one contender Alexander Povetkin.
The World Boxing Association had given AJ and Eddie Hearn an extra month to negotiate with Wilder but with that time up the Brits now only have 24 hours to come to terms with Povetkin.
In a statement WBA president Gilberto Mendoza said, "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."
38 year old Povetkin was due to face Wilder in May 2016 but the fight was cancelled after the Russian failed a drugs test for banned substance meldonium.
His most recent fight was on the undercard of Joshua's fight with Parker where he faced another Brit in David Price. Povetkin won with a fifth round knockout.
The fight with Povetkin puts paid to the Wilder fight for now, with the American no doubt likely to use this as further proof that Joshua is scared of him, but it opens the chances up for a summer fight next year.
We just hope that Wilder and Joshua isn't one of those fights that for some reason never happens.
For now though the 2012 Olympic champion can't look past Povetkin.