Joshua told to face Povetkin or lose title

By AFP: Wednesday, June 27th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Boxing

British boxer Anthony Joshua celebrates after winning the IBF heavyweight title bout between US boxer Charles Martin and British boxer Anthony Joshua at the O2 Arena in London.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Britain's world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has been given a 24-hour deadline to agree a fight with Russia's Alexander Povetkin or risk being stripped of one of his titles.

Joshua added the World Boxing Organisation heavyweight belt to the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation straps he already held when he beat New Zealand's Joseph Parker in Cardiff in March.

Since then Joshua's promoter, Eddie Hearn, has been trying to set up a unification bout with World Boxing Association heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, but has not yet managed to do a deal with the American's camp.

But the WBA are tired of waiting and have now told Joshua he must fight Povetkin, their mandatory challenger.

WBA president Gilberto Mendoza, in a statement issued yesterday, said: "Today the WBA requested an answer from Anthony Joshua's team regarding his fight with the mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.

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"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."

Given talks with Wilder appear to be stalled, a contest with Povetkin may well represent the 'next best bout' for London 2012 Olympic champion Joshua