By Kenny Leavett
The WBA sanctioning body have revealed how Anthony Joshua’s mega fight with Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley fits into its plans to establish the number one heavyweight in the division.
Joshua defends his IBF heavyweight crown against Klitschko at Wembley Stadium later next month on April 29, live on Sky Sports Box Office, and the vacant WBA ‘super’ title is also on the line.
The WBA’s attempts to create one title holder were derailed last year, with Lucas Browne testing positive for a banned substance shortly after winning the ‘regular’ title, while Tyson Fury relinquished the ‘super’ title to focus on problems outside the ring.
WBA president Gilberto Mendoza still intends to crown one dominant champion and has planned a six-man tournament, which will see Luis Ortiz fight the winner of Joshua-Klitschko for the ‘super’ title, while Alexander Ustinov has been lined up to face either Shannon Briggs or Fres Oquendo when they battle for the ‘regular’ belt.
Mendoza has been quoted as saying “After a lot of thinking, we thought that the condition to the winner of Joshua and Klitschko – two boxers that deserve to fight for a ‘super’ championship – will get to fight Ortiz,”
“On the other side, you have Briggs fighting Oquendo and the winner will fight Ustinov. At some point in time, I will have the two winners of those two brackets facing each other in order to have one champion.”
Mendoza confesses the postponement of fights has delayed his initial plans in the heavyweight division and admits it could take time to recognise a stand out title holder.
“It has been a long road in order to have certain fights happen,” said Mendoza. “At least I expect that Joshua and Klitschko happen and Briggs-Oquendo happen.
“After that, we will have mandatories for each one. Ortiz on one side, and the other we are talking about Ustinov.
“The ideal scenario for the WBA would be to make the winners of those fights face each other immediately and the winner would have a lot of time to defend against another mandatory. But I don’t want to jump on it, because you never know.
“Every fighter has a right to earn his living and if a lucrative fight comes there way, then back-to-back mandatory fights are difficult.”