Joshua to face Povetkin before Wilder

Anthony Joshua’s meeting with Deontay Wilder is expected to be pushed back until 2019, with the Brit on the verge of finalising a September clash with Alexander Povetkin.

Talks have been underway for several months for WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Joshua to face WBC title holder Wilder in a unification fight.

Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, says that bout is now due to take place in February – after the 28-year-old has entered the ring against Povetkin.

The Russian is the mandatory challenger to Joshua’s crown after beating David Price on the undercard of the heavyweight champion’s successful title defence against Joseph Parker last March.

Hearn said: “The Povetkin deal is virtually done. The Wilder one is not, but we are talking every day.

“A deal will be done with Wilder in the next month but we will probably move on a Povetkin fight before that. Wilder would be December at the earliest, probably February.

“It’s an incredibly risky fight. It might be a little bit of a mad fight to take before Wilder, but that’s Joshua. He doesn’t care. He wants a challenge, he doesn’t want easy fights.”

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