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Anthony Joshua says Deontay Wilder unification bout 95% done

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 21-0 (20) believes that a unification bout between himself and WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder 40-0 (39) will happen later this year.

“The fight is going to happen, 95% this year,” Joshua told Sky Sports.

Last month Wilder made a $USD50 million offer to Joshua via email after the Englishman’s promoter Eddie Hearn had previously offered the American titleholder a flat fee of $USD12.5 million to make the fight.

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Since then, there has been a lot of media scuttlebutt with the flames fanned by both sides who have utilised both social media and traditional media to push their own agenda and work towards a deal.

Finally, it seems, a resolution may be imminent.

“I’m really, really interested,” continued Joshua, who claimed the WBO title from New Zealand’s Joseph Parker in his last bout in March at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

“You can’t talk finances anymore because I’m well aware there is financial gain in this fight. So, let’s put that aside and look at the devil in the detail.

“You can’t just offer me a buy-out clause. I’m not here to sell my belts, let you take control of the event – that’s not what I’m about.”

Wilder was last in action in early March when he stopped Luis Ortiz in the tenth round at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York to retain his WBC heavyweight title for the seventh time. Joshua has defended his IBF title five times, including in two unification bouts.

The real sticking point in these negotiations may well be the location of the fight. The 28-year-old Joshua has developed into a genuine draw in his home country, attracting a live gate of almost 250,000 people for his last three fights combined.

“Let’s build this fight to it’s true potential. I want the fight in the UK and they want it in America. We’ve got a long time to finalise it, because it will [potentially happen at the end of the year],” said Joshua.

“We’re working tirelessly on it. I’m really interested in that fight.”

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