According to reports, WBA/IBF/WBO world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will face Alexander Povetkin on September 22, likely in Cardiff, Wales, a move that has upset the management of WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
In a response to the World Boxing News, Deontay Wilder’s advisor and co-manager Shelly Finkel expressed disbelief at what transpired on Tuesday with the WBA and Anthony Joshua.
Finkel is the former manager of Wladimir Klitschko and Mike Tyson. He was overseeing negotiations with Matchroom Boxing, Joshua’s promoter, for a massive undisputed heavyweight unification between the two champions, Joshua and Wilder.
On Monday, he informed the press that he would be sending a signed contract back to Matchroom Eddie Hearn by Friday.
Just over twelve hours after Finkel made this announcement, the WBA revealed that they were giving Joshua just 24 hours to agree a battle with mandatory Alexander Povetkin or face losing his WBA title.
Reacting to what has been a surreal few hours for Wilder and his team, Finkel explained that it’s his view Joshua and Hearn had no intention of making the huge Pay-Per-View encounter a reality.
“The fact is they didn’t want this fight,” Finkel said.
“He asked for 50 million dollars, never thinking we’d come up with it. When we came up with it, he said’ I don’t want to fight in the United States, I’ll take it for less in the UK’.
“He sent us a bull*** offer thinking we’ll never take it…and we took it.
“Then they said, ‘what do we do now?’ Let’s send them a contract. Except, the contract doesn’t have when the fight will be or where it will be. But today I get a letter saying; ‘We’re not going to fight you next, but we’ll fight you the fight after that…and it will be April 13th at Wembley Stadium. So basically, he can tell me next year, but he can’t tell me a date for this year.”
Addressing ‘comments’ Hearn stated could have made a difference to ongoing talks, Finkel added: “I never said to Eddie Hearn I would be sending back comments, I wrote to him saying I’m sending back the contract. And he knows the contract would have been signed.
“That’s why today, and all of a sudden, the WBA have turned around and given 24 hours.”
The situation is an obvious disappointment to Finkel and the whole Wilder team, who believed Joshua would come through when he originally stated his desire to make the clash happen this year.
“Joshua said on TV ‘that I will fight him next’ – he’s not fighting us next. He also said; ‘I swear if he offers me $50m I’ll take the fight tomorrow’. Well, got him the $50m and he still didn’t take it,” pointed out Finkel.
“In fact, they send us an offer which is a flat-fee of $15m with a rematch clause, which we accepted, and then a date of September 15th at Wembley – which they knew was the date for Canelo. So, they never had the intention of doing it. How can you go the same day as Canelo?
“They are fighting Povetkin on a later date now so why couldn’t they offer that date to us?
“I asked them on Sunday what date and what venue and they wouldn’t tell us, because they never wanted to do this fight.”
“I know they can’t come out and say ‘we don’t want the fight, he dangerous’ – but they are saying they want it and then putting up every barrier they can to stop it,” he added.
Deontay Wilder’s co-manager and advisor Shelly Finkel has revealed to WBN his belief that the WBA would not have been a major stumbling block in getting a fight with Anthony Joshua over the line.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn cited a statement by WBA President Gilberto Mendoza as the main reason the current four-belt heavyweight champion cannot face Deontay Wilder next.
Mendoza had said on Tuesday: “Today the WBA requested an answer from Anthony Joshua’s team regarding his fight with the mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.
“The WBA have allowed over a month extension to negotiations with Povetkin and also ongoing discussions with Deontay Wilder.
“It appears the Wilder team have not returned the contract for the fight and therefore we are requesting a date for the Joshua v Povetkin fight with immediate effect.”
Despite Mendoza’s words, Finkel says Joshua has never asked for the WBA to give him the license to complete the fight by way of special dispensation – which has been used before for the Klitschko fight.
“The organizations recognize a unification over a mandatory. If you ask for an exception for a fight of this magnitude, I would highly doubt they would say no,” Finkel exclusively told World Boxing News.
“So, if Anthony Joshua and Eddie Hearn wanted the fight, instead of saying the WBA are pressing him, he would be able to ask for an exception and most likely the WBA would have given it and this would not be an issue.
“The fact is, he’s never asked for an exception. Everyone knows it’s best for boxing to make this fight. But Joshua and his team are obviously not interested in what the fans want.
“Look at Gennady Golovkin, he said to the IBF; ‘I’m fighting Canelo and that’s it.’ And that’s what Anthony Joshua should do. Ask for an exception and if they say no – which they won’t, tell them you’ll take the fight anyway.”
Adding further on his view that Joshua never intended to agree to unify with Wilder next, Finkel added: “My team still believes he was never taking this fight. He could have asked for an exception, he didn’t. When he asked for $50m we came up with it, he then never responded.
“Then he gives a lowball offer for a UK fight and we accepted it. We have now told him we’ll have the contract back to him by Friday and it’s now a little coincidental that the WBA say you have to make a decision today.
“They say they want to fight us after Povetkin, but why should we believe that? Joshua said they would fight us next and now he’s fighting Povetkin instead.
“As far as we are concerned, they have shown they don’t want this fight. We have bent every which way we could to make it happen and it’s obvious to a blind man that they don’t want it.
“Joshua is the one who went public and said he wanted his next fight to be Deontay Wilder. He should have never said it if he didn’t really want to do it.
“If his team really had his best interests at heart they would have said to him that $50m with a rematch clause at 50-50 is a good deal, let’s take it but they never did,” said Finkel.