WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder 41-0-1 (40) has blamed a climate of mistrust for his refusal to negotiate one-on-one with unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21) about a possible unification bout.
The 33-year-old American, who is coming off a first-round drubbing of compatriot Dominic Breazeale in Brooklyn a fortnight ago, announced on Tuesday that his next fight would be a rematch against Luis Ortiz 31-1 (26).
“I knew none of these major fights were going to happen this year, so why not go ahead and get Ortiz II in there?” Wilder said in a Thursday interview with The Times.
“This was the perfect time to finish [Ortiz] in a better fashion, and better than to wait on ‘this major fight’. …I don’t trust anything that [Joshua and his team] say. And who else is fighting Ortiz?”
Wilder was widely expected to face Tyson Fury in a rematch this year after their hotly-contested draw at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California last December, but negotiations fell apart when the self-styled ‘Gypsy King’ signed a multi-fight broadcast deal with ESPN. Wilder’s fights are broadcast by rival network Showtime.
Fury, who is scheduled to face little-known German Tom Schwarz 24-0 (16) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 15, has said he doesn’t anticipate the rematch happening until 2020 at the earliest.
“The ones who hate this, I understand that because they want Wilder-Joshua,” Wilder continued.
“Everyone is impatient. They want what they want, but knowing I am the most exciting heavyweight in the world, you’ll still watch the [Ortiz] fight, no matter what, because I bring the drama and the pain.”
In their first meeting Wilder stopped Ortiz in the 10th round of what was an even fight at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in March last year.
“You know Ortiz is going to get up for this big fight. We saw it with me. Every fighter who goes against me gives it their best because they’re going in there with a killer,” Wilder said. “You only get exciting fights, and that’s what I want to bring to the world.”
Ahead of his clash with Andy Ruiz Jr at New York’s Madison Square Garden this Saturday, Joshua told reporters that he wanted to meet with Wilder face-to-face to discuss the potential mega-bout.
“What have they done thus far to be believable?” Wilder asked of Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing.
“I’ve tried to do it privately with some mutual friends. [Joshua] didn’t want to do it without someone there with him on a FaceTime conversation. Why would you want to do that? It’s me and you. Are you scared of me or something? This whole thing of, ‘We’ve got to sit down…’. They’re just saying something, man, because at the end of the day I don’t have a boss. Joshua has a boss, Matchroom Boxing.
“You know when it’s real and you know when someone’s just talking. We’ve spoke before for four months. I’ve been in there with them. You don’t think you know a person when they’re lying or not?
“Without [Matchroom], this fight would be done a long time ago. He can say all he wants. They still have a say-so on him. So why sit and talk with him? He’s not on my level.”
Wilder added: “I’m not chasing nobody no more. The shoe’s on the other foot. I know the fight’s going to happen eventually, but it’s good to see them begging.”
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