Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder shelved until February as mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin looms

Anthony Joshua’s history-making clash with Deontay Wilder may have to wait until February with a mandatory challenge against Alexander Povetkin close to being agreed for September.

It had been hoped that terms for a 2018 fight between IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua and WBC king Wilder could be agreed to produce the first heavyweight in history to simultaneously hold all four belts.

Negotiations remain ongoing but Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has now admitted February seems to be the earliest the pair will meet.

Hearn’s father Barry met with Wilder’s advisor Shelly Finkel in New York on Friday to discuss the potential fight but pressure from the WBA for an answer may force Joshua into a mandatory challenge first. Any unification with Wilder would take precedence over a mandatory challenger but with a deal still outstanding it seems as though Joshua’s next fight will come against the talented Russian.

Hearn Jr said: “My dad met with Shelly and there are now frequent conversations. Those two met on Friday, they emailed us on Monday morning and we are getting back to them.

“I think it will get done but the WBA are asking us every day and we are extending this negotiation period all the time. At the moment, we are fighting Povetkin. I think we have to make a call by the end of the week really.

“We want to fight in September but September doesn’t work with Wilder because of Showtime. If we fight Wilder it would probably be October, November but if we fight Povetkin it will be September. If Povetkin is September then Wilder probably won’t happen until February.”

Hearn also revealed that any clash with Joshua is likely to become the Londoner’s fourth consecutive stadium fight, with a quartet of venues in the running to play host.

Joshua faced both Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium while he took on Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in March of last year.

And he could be back beneath The Arch in September although Manchester United’s Old Trafford and the Olympic Stadium, the home of West Ham United, are also possible.

“Any fight against Povetkin will definitely be over here,” he added. “Wembley is likely but so is the Olympic Stadium or Twickenham. That could be on the 15th or the 22nd of September but there is also the 8th which is available at Old Trafford.”

Joshua remains adamant that any fight with Wilder should take place on British soil despite Las Vegas emerging as the most lucrative option.

As such, the London 2012 Olympic champion is likely to head back to Cardiff – where there is a roof – to face Wilder should he come through against Povetkin unscathed.

“We wanted to fight Wilder in September because there was the possibility of places like Wembley,” Hearn added. “But if you go October or November then it becomes Cardiff, where we have done two fights on the bounce.”

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