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Anthony Joshua Ready To Sacrifice Belts For Preferred Fighters

Written By: SD Reporter

Anthony Joshua could be stripped of his WBA World Heavyweight title in a dispute over his next opponent.

The retirement of Wladimir Klitschko this week has opened up Joshua to challengers from all over.

The three primary opponents being WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder, IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, and WBA mandatory challenger Luis Ortiz.

Wilder recently challenged Joshua in a video posted to his Instagram, claiming that the governing bodies would overrule mandatory challengers in order to bring forward a unification fight.

Promoter Eddie Hearn, however, cited official documentation from the IBF saying that is specifically not the case.

That on its own appears to end any chances of Joshua vs Wilder happening anytime before next summer, and instead, appears to pave the way for Joshua vs Pulev later this year.

This, however, is at odds with the WBA.

The World Boxing Association has had a ruling in place since January which stated that Cuban fighter Luis Ortiz is to face the winner of Joshua vs Klitschko from July. The potential rematch between the two complicated things, with all parties happy to let that fight happen if Klitschko was willing, but his retirement has complicated them even further.

A statement from the WBA reiterated this: “According to the resolution sent on January 11th, 2017, to both parties, it was reported that the winner of the Joshua-Klitschko fight, held on April 29th, 2017, had to face Ortiz after 120 days.

“Ninety-five days have passed and, for this reason, the championships committee ordered to negotiate a fight between the British and Cuban boxers.

“Both parties were duly notified that, as of August 3rd, they have 30 days to reach an agreement or the fight will be called to purse bids.”

Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko Press Conference

Hearn and Joshua appear to instead be moving forward with the IBF title fight against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev.

While the WBA could be expected to be hesitant of stripping Johsua of their heavyweight title, the prioritising of the IBF variant is likely to upset them, and would put off the Ortiz fight until next year.

Still, both Hearn and Joshua have made clear that they intend to fight all three of Pulev, Ortiz, and Wilder – and in that order – as the Briton aims to become Undisputed Champion of the World.


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