WBC World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder (36-0) is facing a mandatory challenge against Russia's Alexander Povetkin (30-1) for his next fight. That much is known, since Povetkin has been the number one challenger for the belt since Wilder won it in January of 2015. Wilder has defended the belt three times. After his last fight ended in a KO victory over Arthur Szpilka, it looks like his next fight will finally be against Povetkin.
The WBC is giving Povetkin and Wilder more than a month to negotiate and come to an agreement. A purse bid has been set for Mexico City on February 26th if a contract isn't set by that date.
The biggest potential sticking point is coming to an agreement on the location. Povetkin has never fought further west than Germany in his more than ten year pro career, and he has a strong base of support in Russia.
Wilder is on the record as stating that it is time Povetkin fought in the United States, and that he preferred the fight to be in New York City. Wilder even quipped “it's too cold in Russia.”
Check out this Boxing Channel video where Wilder talks about fighting Povetkin.
If that is the case, Wilder may want to avoid a purse bid come February. Though he is undefeated and seemingly has all the raw material needed to be a world champion and a star, Wilder is still a bit of a question mark when it comes to his drawing power. Many expect that this will come if he keeps winning, but right now the very real case exists that the fight might make more money in Russia under Povetkin's drawing power. If a purse bid materializes, the very real possibility exists that a deep-pocketed Russian promoter would win the bidding war.
There is another very interesting “possibility”. After Wladimir Klitschko's loss last November to Tyson Fury, the former champion almost immediately invoked his re-match clause, and the boxing world has been operating under the assumption that Klitschko vs Fury 2 will happen sometime in the April or May timeframe. What if that is not the case?
Klitschko, who will be 40 years old in March, reportedly received in the $40 million dollar range for the fight with Fury on November 28 of last year. The last few years have seen the old champion have to postpone several fights due to nagging injuries. If Klitschko is to fight for the world title again in three months or so, the training camp will have to begin in earnest very soon. Should Klitschko re-think the re-match and retire, his legacy would not be at further risk. Perhaps Klitschko doesn't fight again.
This would leave Tyson Fury, the lineal champion and holder of a fistful of alphabet soup world titles, open to a fight with Wilder. And Wilder is on the record stating he would go to England to make it happen.