Anthony Joshua's planned bout with Deontay Wilder may have to wait after the WBA ordered that he must face Alexander Povetkin in a mandatory title challenge - and he must agree to a deal "within 24 hours."
Joshua's heavyweight unification fight with American Wilder has been marred by negotiation issues either side of the Atlantic, with Wilder yet to return a formal contract to get the bout off the ground.
However, boxing's governing body, the WBA, have since grown tired of the long drawn-out negotiations between the two camps.
And they have subsequently told the Watford-born fighter that he must fulfill his obligated mandatory bout with his Russian challenger.
Joshua had been granted an extra month to finalise negotiations for the Wilder bout, however with a deal yet to be formally struck, WBA president Gilberto Mendoza has ordered the 28-year-old Brit to face Povetkin in the ring, sometime in the near future.
This will ultimately put the Wilder fight on the back-burner, with negotiations continuing to stall ahead of a proposed clash.
Joshua currently holds the IBF, WBA, IBO and WBO belts after defeating New Zealander Joseph Parker in Cardiff in March.
And Mendoza confirmed that Joshua's team have been contacted for an answer to the Povetkin bout.
Mendoza said: "Today the WBA requested an answer from Anthony Joshua's team regarding his fight with the mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin," per Sky Sports.
"The WBA have allowed over a month extension to negotiations with Povetkin and also ongoing discussions with Deontay Wilder.
"It appears the Wilder team have not returned the contract for the fight and therefore we are requesting a date for the Joshua versus Povetkin fight with immediate effect."News Now - Sport News