WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder 40-0-1 (39) is actively avoiding a unification bout with WBA, IBF and WBO champion Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21) by walking away from a TV deal with DAZN worth $100 million, according to Barry Hearn.
On Tuesday the American titleholder confirmed he had rejected the offer from digital sports streaming service DAZN – a deal that reportedly included two proposed fights with Joshua – to remain with his current network Showtime.
“Wilder rejecting this deal shows what he is thinking. Luckily the boxing fans today are smart enough to see that he doesn’t want to get in the ring with Anthony Joshua,” head of Matchroom Sports Hearn said to the Daily Mail.
“Nobody does and that’s the problem. He can say anything he wants but it’s obvious to everyone now that this is not coming from our side. Wilder has signed up with Showtime and that makes this fight so much harder to make.
“We made this offer to try and make it easier but there you go. It’s a shame because Eddie [Hearn] has been pushing so hard to make the Wilder-Joshua fight but it just isn’t there.
“Wilder has been offered $100m but he thinks he can earn good money fighting lesser opponents and then build up the purse to fight Joshua later down the line. Fury is the same, he doesn’t want to know. We made him an offer and he turned us down. Neither of them actually want to fight Joshua.”
Wilder is coming off a highly entertaining and contentious draw against Tyson Fury in December. Fury has since signed a broadcast deal with ESPN.
Hearn says the current broadcast landscape that sees the top three names at heavyweight signed to rival outlets could prevent meaningful fights between the top three in the division for the foreseeable future.
“These fights may never happen because you have got Wilder with Showtime, Fury with ESPN and Joshua with DAZN,” he said.
“They are all signed up to different television networks in the US and that is a real issue from the promotional side of things. I just can’t see how these fights happen.
“The problem is none of them want to get beat. No one is blinking. If they get beat everything is off the table. Even for Joshua. Fury is in the worst position because he doesn’t have a title so he has no pulling power and I think out of the three of them he is the most beatable.”