Mandatories set for Joshua/Klitschko, belts will be split

December 22, 2016

This is one of those things that drives people away from boxing.

Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko are set for their April 29th mega-fight, which will be for Joshua’s IBF belt and Klitschko’s WBA.  Unfortunately, both sanctioning bodies have set mandatory challengers for the winner of the fight, and will not allow for a separate fight in before they face the mandatory challenger.  So it seems that the winner will have to pick which belt to defend, and give up the other.

The IBF challenger is Kubrat Pulev, who was pummeled by Klitschko in 2014.  The mandatory for the WBA belt is Luis Ortiz.  An eventual fight between Ortiz and Joshua has been discussed since they share the same promoter, and that would be an interesting fight.

This is an obvious money grab by the sanctioning bodies, so that they can rake more fees when the belts are challenged for more often.  If there was a unified champion, there would be fewer defenses and therefore less money.  Very unfortunate for boxing that the person who deserves the belt will be stripped of it almost immediately.