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Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko unification could be short-lived

The WBA and IBF have ordered immediate mandatory defenses against different opponents for the winner of Joshua-Klitschko.

Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko Press Conference Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

And this is why we can’t have nice things! It’s also why it’s nearly impossible to have one unified world champion in this business. Both the IBF and the WBA have ordered the winner of Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko to face different opponents in mandatory title defenses — meaning whomever emerges as the victor is unlikely to hold on to both title belts for long.

Kalle and Nisse Sauerland, German-based promoters, have just announced that the winner of Joshua-Klitschko will have to immediately face Kubrat Pulev as the IBF’s mandatory challenger, with no interim fight allowed.

This news come right on the heels of the WBA’s announcement that the winner of Joshua-Klitschko must take on Luis Ortiz in their next outing. Obviously the winner can’t do both, and God forbid Joshua and Klitschko try to line up a rematch between them...

This whole situation is clearly reminiscent of Tyson Fury’s quandary when he defeated Wladimir Klitschko for his IBF, WBO, and WBA world titles. Tyson Fury was contractually obligated to face Klitschko in a rematch, but the IBF ordered a mandatory title defense against Vyacheslav Glazkov. Fury couldn’t fulfill that order, and In the end Fury would be stripped of his IBF world title less than two weeks after winning it.

Should Joshua defeat Klitschko, he’ll most likely face Luis Ortiz as both fighters are under the same promotional banner, Matchroom. Joshua says he welcomes the fight.

"Hopefully I defeat Klitschko, and then I can fight Ortiz," said Joshua.

"If we fight Ortiz, it would be a good scrap, because I like fighting southpaws."

It’s all sort of a shame, though. The heavyweight division appeared to be undergoing something of a resurgence and fans would love to the likes of its big names consolidate titles against one another. But, you know, politics...

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