With the landscape of boxing having a myriad of belts available in each weight classes, the likelihood of someone earning the honour of being an undisputed champion is something of a rarity. At the same time, when we look at the heavyweight division, we are not a million miles away from this, either.
The four major belts are currently held by just two fighters. In the red corner, we have Britain’s Anthony Joshua, who can currently lay claim to being the WBA, WBO and IBF champion, while in the blue corner there is the American hitman Deontay Wilder, who currently holds the WBC belt.
The fight that the boxing world is clamouring for is the meeting of these two warriors, but unfortunately for fans across the globe, this is where we reach a sticking point as a deal to secure a fight between Joshua and Wilder has reached an impasse.
Joshua added the WBO title to his collection back in March when he beat Joseph Parker in Cardiff. The fight may have only been won by virtue of a points decision, but ultimately, it was little more than a procession for the 28-year-old who grew up in Watford.
It was a decent payday for Parker, especially as he had little chance of success; something that was reflected in the latest boxing odds going into in the fight. Most bookmakers had Joshua as short as 1/10 to deliver victory in the principality and although it wasn’t a knockout performance, he cleared that particular hurdle.
This victory posed the question, ‘What next for Joshua?’ The answer that the Olympic gold medallist would have liked to have given is that of a titanic clash with Wilder on either side of the Atlantic. Unfortunately, though, this plan has stalled due to contract negotiations, with an additional spanner also thrown in the works.
That comes in the way of Alexander Povetkin, who is the WBA’s mandatory challenger and is next in the queue for a shot at heavyweight gold. The ideal scenario would have been for Joshua and Wilder to duke it out first with the Russian then meeting the winner of the sport’s biggest ever fight.
This is a plan that has not come to fruition and with the WBA demanding that their man gets the shot he is entitled to, it has pushed any titanic clash further back. It now means that Joshua and Povetkin will square off before the end of 2018.
Although it adds something of a diversion to the roadmap of heavyweight unification, it can easily be put back on course. While the Russian, who beat David Price on the same bill as the aforementioned Joshua vs Parker fight, should not be overlooked, he should not be feared, either.
If anything, it will give Joshua another chance to test himself against one of the world’s best fighters, in a match that could act as a tune-up before he finally gets to take on Wilder. If he clears the test of Povetkin then there can be no more hiding and then we will finally get to see who can call themselves the undisputed king of boxing.