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Fans are still denied Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder going head-to-head





British boxing is in rude health... but fans are still denied the ultimate spectacle of Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder going head-to-head

  • Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder have still not agreed unification fight
  • Tyson Fury claims a deal has been struck for him to fight Wilder in December
  •  Joshua will fight mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin in September

By Jeff Powell For Mailonline

Published: 19:25 EDT, 6 August 2018 | Updated: 19:47 EDT, 6 August 2018

Football is not alone in starting a new season with something to prove.

This weekend the Premier League kicks off its attempt to mirror the dazzling spectacle of a World Cup which restored international football as the elite pinnacle of the global game.

One week later big-time boxing returns striving to overcome the loss - temporary or otherwise - of what should have been the world heavyweight title fight of the decade.

 Anthony Joshua and his team have still to finalise a fight agreement with Deontay Wilder
 Anthony Joshua and his team have still to finalise a fight agreement with Deontay Wilder

 Anthony Joshua and his team have still to finalise a fight agreement with Deontay Wilder

Wilder is in possession of the WBC belt that continues to elude four-belt champion Joshua
Wilder is in possession of the WBC belt that continues to elude four-belt champion Joshua

Wilder is in possession of the WBC belt that continues to elude four-belt champion Joshua


Each to their own challenge.

For boxing, the failure of Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder to come to terms for a match which would have given the sport its first undisputed world heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis is just about the only question mark against the hard old game's brilliant renaissance this year.

Whether they will get it on next year remains a moot and increasingly bitter argument.

Meanwhile, instead of a showdown with WBC champion Wilder next month which would have unified that belt with Joshua's WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles, AJ is ticking off a mandatory defence against Russian veteran Alexander Povetkin.

That fight will still fill Wembley to its current 90,000 capacity, given Joshua's huge domestic popularity, but it is unlikely to galvanise the world.

Tyson Fury is one fight into his boxing comeback after two years spent away from the sport
Tyson Fury is one fight into his boxing comeback after two years spent away from the sport

Tyson Fury is one fight into his boxing comeback after two years spent away from the sport

Thankfully for British boxing, a certain Tyson Fury is willing to gallop to the rescue.

The Gypsy King is volunteering to carry the Union Flag out to Las Vegas for a clash of the giants with Wilder which would resonate across both sides of the Atlantic... and beyond.

Not least because Wilder is the American wearer of the prime WBC belt, Fury the Mancunian holder of the linear heavyweight crown by virtue of having been first to the dethroning punch against Wladimir Klitschko — and still undefeated.

The finalising of that deal depends in part on Fury fulfilling his end of the bargain in the second fight of his comeback, in Belfast on Saturday week, by seeing off Italy's Francesco Pianeta.

Confident that he will do so, Fury says: 'I'm going to America to save British boxing from the embarrassment of Joshua not fighting Wilder.' He is also helping Carl Frampton - who tops the bill in Belfast by fighting Luke Jackson - realise his career-long dream of boxing in Northern Ireland's national football stadium, Windsor Park.

Come September, the hot nights come thick and fast. Amir Khan continues his comeback against Samuel Vargas in Birmingham on September 8.

Later that night in America, Danny Garcia battles Shawn Porter for the vacant WBC world welterweight championship. Khan will be watching keenly and rooting for Garcia, who says he is willing to come to England if he wins and give the Bolton Olympian a chance of avenging a heavy knockout... if the price is right.

Anthony Joshua will next fight mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin in September
Anthony Joshua will next fight mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin in September

Anthony Joshua will next fight mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin in September

That would also offer Khan a shot at a third world title which, if he prevailed, would strengthen his bargaining position if ever he and Kell Brook contest a Battle of Britain.

September 15 brings the biggest rematch of all. That between superstar middleweights Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin following the scandalous draw decision which robbed Triple G the first time they met in Las Vegas and which was followed by the Mexican idol's positive drugs tests for clenbuterol.

Joshua vs Povetkin is on September 22, one weekend before a recovered George Groves goes to Saudi Arabia to put his WBA world super-middleweight title on the line against Callum Smith in what will also be the final of the in inaugural World Super Series tournament for the Ali Trophy.

On to October 20 and back to America - probably Vegas - for Billy Joe Saunders defending his WBO middleweight title against the dangerous Demetrius Andrade.

Then the tantalising possibility of Wilder v Fury dangles over November.

Fasten your ringside seatbelts.

Frampton v Jackson and Fury v Pianeta on August 18 will be televised live on BT Sports.

Khan v Vargas on September 8 and Joshua v Povetkin on September 22 will be televised live on Sky Sports and Sky Sports Box Office respectively.

Groves v Smith on Friday September 28 will be televised live on ITV Box Office

 

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