Klitschko vs Joshua titles: The good, the bad and the downright uglyWritten by Lee Cleveland
On April 29th, heavyweight titans Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua will face each other in a historic boxing match.
The good news: Two titles, the (vacant) WBA and Joshua's IBF belt will be unified, taking us one step closer to an undisputed champion.
The bad news: The IBF and WBA are hell-bent on the winner of Klitschko vs Joshua facing different mandatory opponents.
So what does this mean?
The downright ugly news: The winner will have to vacate one belt to keep the other thus eliminating any benefit of unifying the titles. Hence, we'll have a unified champion for only a few days or weeks.
And that is a huge part of the reason boxing is losing fans... Too many champions.
Earlier this week, the promotional company run by Kalle and Nisse Sauerland announced that the winner of Joshua-Klitschko will have to immediately defend his title against Kubrat Pulev as the IBF’s mandatory challenger.
... No ifs, ands or buts.
And the WBA, of course, announced last week that the winner of Klitschko vs Joshua must next face Luis Ortiz.
If Joshua wins, look for him to face Ortiz because a) both heavyweights are promoted by Eddie Hearn thus making Joshua vs Ortiz a lucrative promotional endeavor for Hearn and because b) Joshua has stated verbally he wants to face Ortiz next should he defeat Wlad.
In the above scenario, the vacated IBF title would be contested by Pulev and another heavyweight.
If Klitschko wins, who knows what'll happen? He soundly defeated Kubrat Pulev in 2014 so the bigger money option might be the unbeaten Ortiz. However, Pulev probably has a little more market value in Europe than does Ortiz who is Cuban.
Wladimir Klitschko was the consensus heavyweight champion for several years, amassing the IBF, WBA and WBO belts as well as the prestigious RING Magazine lineal title, before losing to Tyson Fury in November 2015.
After the upset, the IBF ordered Fury to face Vyacheslav Glazkov. Fury, of course, agreed to rematch Klitschko instead thereby relinquishing the IBF title.
Klitschko vs Fury II was ultimately canceled when it was announced Tyson Fury would be entering drug rehab.
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.