The World Boxing Association (WBA) has warned Nigerian-born British heavyweight boxing world champion Anthony Joshua he faces being stripped of his title if he does not sign a fight with Russian boxer Alexander Povetkin.
According to The Sun, the warning was issued by WBA President Gilberto Mendoza.
Joshua is eyeing a unification bout with World Boxing Council (WBC) champion Deontay Wilder, but Mendoza has given him just 24 hours to sign a deal with mandatory challenger Povetkin.
Mendoza said: “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 versus Povetkin fight with immediate effect.”
Joshua, 28, who also holds the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Organisation (WBO) and International Boxing Organisation (IBO) belts, defeated New Zealand’s Joseph Parker via unanimous decision back in March to claim the WBO title.
He remains unbeaten after 21 professional fights with 20 of his fights coming via knockouts.