Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport isn’t going to be able to have his fighter IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua milk his titles for two more fights if he gets past Wladimir Klitschko in their fight on April 29. World Boxing Association president Gilberto J. Mendoza is saying that Joshua will need to face #1 WBA Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs) in their next fight.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that the winner of the Joshua vs. Klitschko fight absolutely must fight the 37-year-old Ortiz. They can always skirt the fight by vacating the WBA title to avoid facing the tough Cuban fighter. I don’t see Joshua or Klitschko vacating the WBA title to avoid Ortiz. It would make them look bad in the eyes of the boxing public if they gave up the WBA title to avoid that fight.
“The decision is the following: Joshua will fight Klitschko, the winner will have to face Ortiz,” Mendoza said to Fight News. “We decided to give [Ortiz] a chance at the winner.”
This is complicate matters for Joshua if he has to fight Ortiz in his next fight after the Klitschko fight, because Hearn is talking about wanting to match him against his IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev, and then against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder before the end of the year. If Joshua must face Ortiz in his next fight in the summer of 2017, it’s going to force him to take a fight that could jeopardize a big money fight against Wilder.
Hearn obviously has been talking about wanting to match Joshua against Ortiz, but I don’t think he was planning on making that fight until 2018n after he’d exhausted the bigger money fights against Wilder and Joseph Parker for unification matches.
Ortiz is coming off victories over Dave Allen and Malik Scott. Ortiz stopped Allen in the 7th round this month on December 10. Malik was able to last the full 12 round distance against Ortiz last November.
“I will set deadlines between the winner of Joshua and Klitschko [to agree a fight with Ortiz],” said Mendoza.
Joshua has to get past Wladimir on April 29 in their fight on Sky Box Office PPV from the Wembley Stadium in London, England. While Joshua is the favorite to win that fight, anything is possible if Wladimir is able to land his hard power shots. Wladimir is familiar with Joshua’s fighting style from having used him as a sparring partner two years ago to get ready for his title defense against Pulev in 2014.