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Joshua vs Wilder: Joshua-Povetkin close if latest offer is a no-go

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If Deontay Wilder doesn’t accept the latest offer, Anthony Joshua is close to fighting Alexander Povetkin instead.

Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker -  World Heavyweight Title Fight Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

If Deontay Wilder doesn’t accept the latest offer from Anthony Joshua’s team, then Joshua and Matchroom Boxing are prepared to move on to a fight with WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin, according to Sky Sports.

That doesn’t mean that Joshua-Wilder is dead just yet, but the clock is definitely ticking. From Eddie Hearn:

“I don’t like making deadlines because sometimes it gets people’s backs up but at some stage soon we have to make a decision. We are close to closing a deal with Povetkin and once the deal is closed, there is no Deontay Wilder. They have our offer so they have to accept it or move on. It’s not a case of if you don’t accept this offer the fight is dead, we will just fight Povetkin and carry on our negotiations to the next one.”

Joshua (21-0, 20 KO) and Wilder (40-0, 39 KO) are the clear top two heavyweights in boxing right now, the biggest names in the division, the only men who hold titles, and their potential fight is maybe the biggest possible in 2018, especially with a Canelo-Golovkin rematch seemingly off the table for the time being.

But we may be in a situation where the timing just isn’t perfect yet, and we could see this big unification pushed to 2019. Povetkin (34-1, 24 KO) isn’t a bad Joshua opponent at all, but it would still seem like a big letdown for those of us who want to see Joshua-Wilder now.

As for what Wilder would do if this fight gets put on the backburner, that’s not clear. The current WBC rankings top 10 has Dillian Whyte (who is possibly fighting Kubrat Pulev in an IBF eliminator and has some beef with the WBC) at No. 1, followed by Dominic Breazeale, Povetkin, Luis Ortiz, Tony Bellew, Joseph Parker, Charles Martin, Adam Kownacki, Agit Kabayel, and Dereck Chisora rounding out the top 10.