Anthony Joshua told to fulfil obligations by Alexander Povetkin's team
By James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 23/04/18 3:28pm
Anthony Joshua is expected to “cooperate with the rules” and accept Alexander Povetkin as his “next opponent,” according to the Russian’s promoter.
Povetkin is the mandatory challenger to Joshua's WBA heavyweight title, and the governing body have given until May 6 for their respective promoters to negotiate a fight.
"I believe that Joshua will follow and cooperate with the rules of the sanctioning bodies for the titles that he holds," Povetkin's promoter Andrey Ryabinskiy exclusively told Sky Sports.
I believe that Joshua will follow and cooperate with the rules of the sanctioning bodies for the titles that he holds.
Andrey Ryabinskiy, Povetkin's promoter
"I think every fighter has to fight the best to prove that he is the best. I see no reason why Joshua would not want to fight Povetkin as his next opponent."
Joshua is targeting a fight against Deontay Wilder with every major belt on the line - this possibility was described as a "special circumstance" last month by WBA president Gilberto Mendoza, meaning Povetkin's opportunity would be delayed.
Entrepreneur Ryabinskiy founded World of Boxing, who promote Povetkin, and won a purse bid in 2013 to bring Wladimir Klitschko to Russia for a world title fight. That remains the only defeat of Povetkin's 35-fight career.
They were also due to welcome Wilder to Moscow in 2016 but that fight fell through when Povetkin tested positive for a banned substance.
Povetkin ideally wants to challenge Joshua at the 81,000-seat Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, which will host this summer's World Cup final, but is also willing to travel to the champion's homeland.
"We are happy to make the fight in England as both fighters have a lot of fans in England, there are many Russians that live in England and many who will come to England for the fight," Ryabinskiy said.
"Yes, of course, it is possible [to fight Joshua in Russia]. [The Luzhniki Stadium] has been recently renovated, it's a legendary stadium, it has the capacity for a fight of this magnitude.
"Doing the fight in the USA is also an option.
"We have started discussing the fight. [Joshua's promoter] Eddie Hearn is a very respectable promoter, we consider him our partner, and we hope that we can have a pleasant and efficient negotiations process.
"I believe that Povetkin is one of the best heavyweights in the world today. Joshua vs Povetkin being one of the most competitive fights in this division - it has to happen!"
Povetkin knocked out David Price on the undercard to Joshua unifying the IBF, WBA and WBO titles against Joseph Parker on March 31.
Povetkin's hopes could be scuppered if Joshua vs Wilder is agreed, with a meeting set to happen this week between their backers.
"I'm going to look to meet up with them in New York, get face to face with them, look into the whites of their eyes, and just see if we can make a deal," Hearn told Sky Sports last week.