Cardiff looks set to host the next title defence of WBA, WBO, and IBF champion Anthony Joshua, with the Principality Stadium now believed to be the front-runner to host the upcoming fight.
Joshua’s previous two fights, against Joseph Parker and Carlos Takam, were also held in the Welsh capital, and the Principality Stadium appears to have beaten stiff competition from Wembley Stadium in London and a potential venue in Las Vegas to host the title defence.
It is though that the Principality Stadium has won the race to host the event due to the fact it is the only stadium in the UK with a retractable roof.
Given the unpredictable British weather, the venue is perhaps the only suitable location to host the fight, believed to be happening in late September.
Wembley Stadium is viewed as the preferred option given its location in London, but the lack of a sliding roof has given concern to logistical problems.
Venues in Las Vegas were also considered, but Joshua’s insistence that his next fight take place in the UK have made it a two-horse race between the two British venues.
However, with an opponent yet to be determined, it begs the question of who exactly Joshua will be defending his titles against.
The most obvious option is current WBC champion Deontay Wilder, who has long been touted as the next opponent for Joshua, although Russian Alexander Povetkin is the mandatory challenger of the WBA.
Wilder recently stated on Twitter that he is willing to fight in the UK to make the unification bout happen, tweeting:
“The $50m offer for him to fight me next in the US is still available. Today I even agreed to their offer to fight Joshua next in the UK.”
There was thought to be initial concerns over the split purse and location of the fight, with Joshua said to be willing to take a pay cut to ensure the fight happens in his native UK.
His promotor Eddie Hearn also said he sent contracts over to the Wilder team and are awaiting his signature.
Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel has claimed that his camp has accepted the terms for a UK title unification bout and are awaiting the response of Hearn.
Finkel recently spoke with the World Boxing News, saying there are still ongoing issues with the contract.
“We looked at the contract on Monday and raised two specific details in the paperwork that we needed clarification of. It’s frustrating as Eddie Hearn is stating in the media that we need to be quick and sign the contract, but how can we sign if they don’t respond to our email and clarify our concerns?”
Hearn has since taken to Twitter to deny the claims made by Finkel.
His father Barry Hearn, also a promotor, has said that the contract negotiations with Wilder are ‘on-going’, but that Joshua’s camp have been put under pressure from the WBA to make the mandatory Povetkin fight the next bout for the champion.
Should there be no progression in contracts with Wilder, then it looks to be that the Russian will be AJ’s next opponent in the Principality stadium.