ANTHONY JOSHUA’S plans to face Deontay Wilder next in a fight to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world took an interesting twist this week after his promoter, Eddie Hearn, was pictured in a meeting with rival handler Andriy Ryabinskiy, who looks after Alexander Povetkin.
Eddie Hearn met with Alexander Povektin’s representatives yesterday
Povetkin is currently the second-favourite choice to fight Joshua next having been installed as the mandatory challenger for his WBA world title with a violent victory over David Price in March.
The 38-year-old Russian, who has ben suspended twice for failing pre-fight drugs tests, is 34-1 in his 35 professional bouts, with his only loss coming at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko in 2013.
A smiling Hearn uploaded a photograph of himself alongside Povetkin’s promoter Ryabinskiy and his representative Vadim Kornilov to Twitter yesterday afternoon, claiming he had enjoyed a “good meeting” with the pair.
Povetkin destroyed David Price in his last fight, on Joshua’s undercard
The nature of the meeting is currently unclear but, given the positive nature of talks with Deontay Wilder’s team in recent weeks, it is likely Hearn will be seeking a deal for Povetkin to step aside to allow Joshua a shot at the undisputed crown.
Hearn has also previously conceded that Joshua may face Povetkin next, if negotiations with Wilder’s team cannot be resolved in the near future.
British heavyweights Dillian Whyte and Hughie Fury have both suggested they would be open to facing veteran Povetkin if he is left without an opponent, with Fury’s trainer even suggesting they would travel to Russia for the contest.
Hearn’s meeting with Ryabinskiy comes just days after the groundbreaking announcement of a new $1bn (£739m) deal with US streaming giant DAZN to expand Matchroom’s presence in the US.
Talks are said to be progressing well between Joshua and Wilder’s camps
“We have by far, the biggest rights budget in boxing. This is open season for boxers in the US. If you’re a world class fighter, top to bottom, we want you,” Hearn said.
“No more fighting once a year, no more waiting on the dates. We’ve got the dates, the money, the platform to give you regular championship content.”
The 37-year-old also revealed he would be targeting Deontay Wilder’s signature as part of his foray into the American market.