Home Boxing News Anthony Joshua’s fight with Deontay Wilder would have been pushed back if...

Anthony Joshua’s fight with Deontay Wilder would have been pushed back if he didn’t box this weekend

If Anthony Joshua 25-3 (22) did not fight this weekend his proposed fight against Deontay Wilder 43-2-1 (42) would have been pushed back until late in the first quarter of 2024 at the earliest.

The former two-time heavyweight champion had his plans thrown into disarray when original opponent Dillian Whyte 29-3 (19) was a late withdrawal from their clash at the O2 Arena in London, England on Saturday after testing positive to a banned substance.

Finnish veteran Robert ‘The Nordic Nightmare’ Helenius 32-4 (21) was drafted in yesterday to face Britain’s Joshua, 33, and keep the card alive.

Joshua has been deep in negotiations to face former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder, 37, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama in Saudi Arabia in either December or January should he come through his next fight victorious.

But that fight would have had to have been pushed back if he didn’t box this weekend.

“We all wanted to see the Dillian Whyte fight but at the same time Anthony Joshua has trained for 12 weeks, he wants to fight Deontay Wilder next and wants to fight on Saturday,” Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn told talkSPORT.

“The other option honestly was to fight in October or November.

“And we want to fight Deontay Wilder. We know December is unlikely but we’re still being told and we were told as recently as two, three days ago or whenever it was, that you will be fighting (in December).

“If he doesn’t take this fight on Saturday, then he won’t fight Wilder in December or January because he’d end up fighting in October or November.”

Wilder hinted recently that January was the likely date for his clash with Joshua in a video posted to Boxing News’ YouTube channel.

“Soon,” Wilder replied when asked when the bout would take place. “Maybe January, me versus [Anthony] Joshua, it’s going down.”

Matchroom Boxing CEO Frank Smith told Boxing Social that the fight is their main priority following the Helenius bout.

“100%, that’s our focus, that’s our intention. It has been for a long time,” Smith said.

“A number of representatives from Skills Challenge and the representative to Saudi Boxing will be over for the show this week. That’s our intention to get the show locked in. That’s the fight that everyone wants to see, and we will do everything we can.

“Final message. Tune in. It’s a massive heavyweight night of boxing, live on DAZN. It’s part of your subscription. If you’re not a subscriber, sign up.”

Helenius will be out to upset the applecart this Saturday night and punch his ticket to a rematch with Wilder, who stopped him in one round last October.

“I am excited about fighting Anthony Joshua on August 12,” Helenius said. “I am a true Viking that is willing to face any challenge at a moment’s notice. This is not an opportunity I was going to let slip away. I plan to make the most of it.”