Eddie Hearn, promoter for IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs), is very concerned if his boxer steps in the ring with mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.
The two sides are in talks, after the World Boxing Association ordered the two boxers to face each other.
Povetkin was featured on Joshua's undercard in March at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. He secured a brutal knockout victor over Olympic bronze medal winner David Price, and Joshua won a twelve round unanimous decision over Joseph Parker in the main event.
Povetkin, an Olympic gold medal winner and former WBA champion, is viewed by Hearn as a serious threat to derail the possibly unification between Joshua and WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
"It's an incredibly risky fight – it might be a little bit of a mad fight to take before Wilder, but that's Joshua,' Hearn said on Thursday. He doesn't care. He wants a challenge; he doesn't want easy fights," Hearn said to Daily Mail.
The deal for a fight with Povetkin is close to done. The two sides are still negotiating the details for a fight with Wilder - but they are not yet there with respect to a monetary deal. Joshua has made it clear that he will only fight Wilder in the UK - but the WBC champ wants to be properly compensated for that scenario.
"The Povetkin deal is virtually done. The Wilder one is not, but we're talking every day," Hearn said.
"If it's Povetkin next, the Wilder fight will definitely be signed before we go into that fight... Wilder understands he has to go where Joshua tells him to — he knows, and he understands that — and at the moment Joshua's telling him: 'You have to come to the UK.' He knows, he's up for that, but there's a lot of things that have to be worked out."