Home Boxing News Anthony Joshua still without opponent for August date while Deontay Wilder December...

Anthony Joshua still without opponent for August date while Deontay Wilder December clash hangs in the balance

Anthony Joshua and Eddie Hearn. Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

The proposed August showdown between former two-time unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 25-3 (22) and Dillian Whyte 29-3 (19) appears to be on the rocks.

The 33-year-old Londoner’s promoter Eddie Hearn is doubtful he will be able to get a fight against Whyte, 36, over the line due to the Brixton man’s financial demands.

Joshua and Whyte have split a pair of fights in the past. Whyte got the better of Joshua in the amateur, before the future WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight king bested him by seventh-round knockout in the pros eight years ago.

Whyte has long felt that he has been forced to play second fiddle to Joshua on Hearn’s heavyweight roster and is not afraid to play hardball when it comes to naming his price for a fight.

The loose plan in place for Joshua is to return to the ring in August for his second fight under new trainer Derrick James before heading into a showdown with former WBC boss Wilder 43-2-1 (42) in Saudi Arabia in December.

There are a lot of moving pieces in this puzzle and the usually unflappable Hearn is beginning to show his frustration.

“So we spoke last night to [Whyte’s] team and this morning,” the Matchroom Boxing boss told iFL TV. “We made an offer and they felt that offer was unacceptable. We may be too far out on the money to make that fight. We’re looking at two other opponents for August 12. The key for us, if we can’t make the Deontay Wilder fight it’s not that it has to be Dillian. AJ wants it, that’s the fight AJ wanted.

“If we’ve got the Wilder fight done, we can fight someone else from the top 15 on August 12. We still want a decent, proper fight to prepare yourself for Deontay Wilder. But if we can’t get the Wilder fight done, then we need a much bigger fight on August 12, or we look at Tyson Fury in September.

“But I believe, and Frank spoke to the guys at Skills Challenge last night, that we’re going to get that fight made with Wilder. “So once we do that August 12th, if we can’t make a Dillian Whyte fight, then we take someone else in the top 15. AJ’s desire is to fight Dillian Whyte.”

The financially lucrative Wilder fight remains the priority, with Hearn using the August date to keep his fighter sharp. The last time Joshua boxed was in April when he won a lacklustre decision over fringe contender Jermaine Franklin 21-2 (14) in London.

“For me, I think if you’ve got Deontay Wilder locked in for December, fighting Dillian Whyte on August 12th is risky, bear in mind the amount of money you’re about to fight Deontay Wilder for, but he and Derrick James specifically requested Dillian Whyte. The issue is the money Dillian Whyte wants and the money AJ wants,” Hearn said.

“The market is starting to change a little bit in general for boxing, and I don’t think we can get to the number that Dillian wants for that fight, in all honesty. I think Dillian wants to fight and I think AJ wants to fight, but we may well run out of time.”