By Keith Idec
The WBA would’ve granted Anthony Joshua an exemption to delay his mandatory heavyweight title defense against Alexander Povetkin.
For that to have happened, however, Joshua and Deontay Wilder would’ve had to have signed contracts for their heavyweight title unification fight. According to Eddie Hearn, the WBA wouldn’t grant him another extension to try to finalize a deal for a Joshua-Wilder showdown earlier this week.
Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, said the WBA already had given him “six or seven” one-week extensions while he negotiated with Deontay Wilder’s co-manager, Shelly Finkel, and adviser, Al Haymon.
By Monday night, WBA president Gilberto Mendoza determined that those negotiations dragged on long enough. That’s when Mendoza first informed Hearn he would be given a 24-hour window within which he had to close a deal for a Joshua-Povetkin fight.
Hearn had been working on Joshua-Povetkin contracts with Andrey Ryabinskiy, Povetkin’s promoter, all along to ensure they could close that deal quickly if the Joshua-Wilder fight didn’t materialize. England’s Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) and Russia’s Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) are expected to fight September 22 at Wembley Stadium in London.
“We could’ve just asked for an exception when the deal’s done – just like we did with the IBF,” Hearn told IFL TV in reference to the mandatory exemption the IBF granted Joshua when he fought Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017. “So all you do is you ask for an exception, with signed contracts from both parties and you put that exception request in. We could’ve done that after the [Joseph] Parker fight. We could’ve done that three days ago. Once you get to the position where the contracts are signed, the WBA wouldn’t have, before they lost their rag and run out two months over, they couldn’t really stop a Wilder fight.
“Someone Tweeted me the other day and said, ‘Well, you asked for an exception for the Klitschko fight when you had a mandatory [Kubrat Pulev]. I said, ‘Yeah, we had a signed contract.’ You can’t ask for an exception request on the hope that you can make a fight. Do you understand what I’m saying? So we wouldn’t let a mandatory get in the way of a unification because you put the procedures in place to make sure that you get that exemption request. But [Wilder] wouldn’t sign a contract. We can’t ask for an exemption request. Does that make sense?”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.