Negotiations for the mooted Anthony Joshua versus Deontay Wilder heavyweight unification clash have reached their zenith with veteran sports promoter Barry Hearn meeting with the American’s advisor Shelly Finkel in New York on Friday.
WBA, IBF and WBO champion Joshua, 28, is determined the fight will take place on British soil, where the popular Brit has drawn crowds averaging 80,000 for his last three fights.
Matchroom Sport chairman Hearn, father and mentor to Eddie, was parachuted in to close the deal after Wilder’s team offered Joshua $50 million in late April to come to America to face the WBC heavyweight champion.
“I think the bluster is gone and we’re now at the stage where there’s real decisions to be made in the next few days,” the senior Hearn told Sky Sports. “I’m very happy to say I’ve done my bit.
“Eddie and his team take over, as always, and the last word comes from the man himself. Wherever we go, it has to have the approval of AJ, because he’s the main man.”
Eddie Hearn, who has simultaneously been working on a plan for Joshua to face his dangerous WBA mandatory Alexander Povetkin in September if the Wilder fight falls through, is adamant the unification bout has to happen in the UK.
“We want to do the fight in the UK,” Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports. “I don’t think they are too keen to do the fight in the UK, but I think they are slowly realising that without Anthony Joshua, the future is not too bright and rosy for Deontay Wilder.
“He wants the fight, we want the fight. Time is running out, because we need to let the WBA know and Alexander Povetkin know if we’re fighting them in September.
“At the moment, it looks like we are. I think this fight with Wilder could get agreed in the next couple of weeks. I think it will get agreed in the next couple of weeks and probably signed.
“It’s just a case of whether that fight happens in October, November, September, or we do it in February or March next year. Either way I do think it will get agreed. It’s just a timescale thing now.”
If Hearn gets his way, the fight would happen in London at an outdoor venue in September. But this is contingent on the availability of TV dates, with the Gennady Golovkin versus Saul “Canelo” Alvarez rematch playing a large role in where the highly-anticipated fight lands.
“But everybody is at least talking, and genuinely when everybody wants the fight, and the communication is good, you get there in the end,” said Hearn.
“It’s just a case of whether you get there, or whether we jump to fight our mandatory in Povetkin, and then Wilder next.”