Eddie Hearn has issued a firm deadline to Deontay Wilder to make the Anthony Joshua fight and he’s not giving the undefeated American a lot of breathing room.
Hearn, who promoted Joshua’s successful IBF, WBA and WBO title defence against Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night, wants the deal secured for an April clash no later than mid-November.
Speaking to Sportsmail the Matchroom Boxing boss insisted they could not afford to wait until after the WBC heavyweight champion defended his world title against lineal champion Tyson Fury on December 1.
“We cannot wait until the Wilder-Fury fight to make our decision on AJ’s career. I would like to know where we are with Wilder’s team in the next five or six weeks because we cannot really go longer than that,” said Hearn.
The very public fight negotiations between the two camps broke down last summer leading to recriminations from both sides. Joshua moved on to face his mandatory contender in Povetkin while Wilder signed on to face Fury.
Talks between the two camps resumed last week.
If terms cannot be agreed to, Joshua’s Matchroom Boxing stablemate Dillian Whyte will get called out of the bullpen for his second crack at Joshua at Wembley Stadium on April 13.
Whyte was stopped in the seventh round of a shootout for the British and Commonwealth titles against Joshua in 2015.
“Dillian Whyte is an option. Right now I would say it is even money between it being Whyte or Wilder, but we do want Wilder. I think there is a good chance we will make a deal,” said Hearn.
On Saturday night the 28-year-old Joshua overcame a slow start to stop Russian veteran Povetkin, 39, in the seventh round.
Hearn revealed Joshua was carrying a number of injuries into the fight.
“It was the worst camp ever. He had a back problem after about two weeks, and eight weeks out it was 50-50 whether he would be able to fight,” he said. “Then three weeks out he had an elbow problem and a week out he got the flu. It was mad.”
Joshua moved to 22-0 (21) with the win. Wilder holds a record of 40-0 (39).