Robert Helenius could vacate his European heavyweight title, leaving domestic rivals Anthony Joshua and Dereck Chisora to fight for it.
Helenius is due to defend against Chisora next up but with negotiations stalling, Chisora’s promoter Kalle Sauerland doubts whether the Finn is prepared to face the Londoner again after edging a controversial split decision in Helsinki in December 2011.
Should Helenius (22-0-KO13) opt to give up his belt, the next two in line would be Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin – unlikely candidates given they are preparing for world title shots at Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder respectively. That would leave Joshua (15-0-KO15) as Chisora’s likely opponent.
Sauerland told Sky Sports: “We’ve heard nothing back from Helenius after our last offer. It’s due to go to purse bids but we heard this morning from a few good sources that Helenius will be relinquishing his title, giving up his position to avoid the fight.
“What they’ll try and do is spin it by saying they want to go the world route, but everyone knows that the first fight was close, to put it diplomatically. 95 per cent of the boxing world thought Chisora won the fight.
“The fight would have probably taken place in Helsinki, so it’s a bizarre move. If you’re going for a world title, you’ll have to fight the likes of Chisora.
“Dereck was well up for the fight. He’s looked tremendous in training. Since he signed with us, he’s put himself at it and has had three fights in a matter of weeks. It’s like the Chisora of old – the one who gave Vitali Klitschko problems a few years ago.
“If Helenius gives up the belt then okay – thanks for wasting our time. The next one is Klitschko, who’s lining up a Fury rematch. Then there’s Povetkin, who’s in talks with Wilder. The next one in the rankings is Joshua, so it would come down to a Chisora-Joshua fight. In the UK, we don’t need to do much selling there!
“The fight would be imminent because it would be ordered. It would then be up to us to agree a deal with Matchroom, and we have a very close working relationship. The fighters have their demands, we represent those and try to reach terms. That would be the next step.
“It’s all speculation at the moment because as it stands, the rumours of Helenius vacating are only that and we’re still going to a purse bid tomorrow… but strong indications are that they’ve got cold feet.”
Aside from the debatable defeat to Helenius, Chisora (25-5-KO17) has only ever lost to Vitali Klitschko, Tyson Fury (twice) and David Haye.