Home Boxing News Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder still the plan for next year, says...

Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder still the plan for next year, says Eddie Hearn

Anthony Joshua and Eddie Hearn. Photo credit: Getty Images

Promoter Eddie Hearn is refusing to give up on a fight between former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 26-3 (23) and Deontay Wilder 43-2-1 (42).

Negotiations for the proposed bout date back many months with both boxers reportedly agreeing to the deal with the fight to take place in Saudi Arabia with financial backing from Skill Challenge Entertainment.

But apparent changes within the Skill Challenge Entertainment business have cooled their enthusiasm for bankrolling the fight.

Matchroom Boxing boss Hearn, who promotes former two-time heavyweight champion Joshua, is debating whether or not to have his boxer back in the ring in December or to concentrate all of his efforts to secure new funding for the Wilder fight, which now won’t happen until the first quarter of the new year at the earliest.

Hearn is shopping out the fight to potential backers as far away as Qatar and Las Vegas in a bid to keep the bout alive.

“We’re spinning blades, as we always do,” Hearn said. “You know what we want to do, we want to fight Deontay Wilder. That was supposed to happen in January, we accepted the offer. We know it’s not materialised now… because it was made by someone that couldn’t deliver the fight at that time. It’s alright. That happens.

“We’d agreed, Wilder had agreed, now we’re talking to other sites about that fight in February or March and that’s still the plan, very much the plan.”

The 33-year-old Joshua has already boxed twice this year and if he fights again in December it will be his most active year since 2016.

Hearn likes the idea of keeping Joshua active, although he is mindful of the limit time he has to find an opponent and promote the event.

“Now, the other plan is, do we fight in December?” Hearn said. “And that’s something that we’ve got to decide, quite honestly, next week because it’s not that far away.

“AJ needs to get into camp if he’s going to fight in December. He may just wait for the big fight in February or March, but he always wants to fight and stay active. So we’ll have to see.”

Over the weekend the heavyweight division was dealt a surprise when it was announced the WBC titleholder Tyson Fury 33-0-1 (24) would go directly into a unification bout with WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine champion Oleksandr Usyk 21-0 (14) following his 10-round non-title bout against boxing debutant and former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou later this month.

American Wilder, 37, went 0-2-1 in his trilogy against Fury and expects the self-styled ‘Gypsy King’ to be simply too big for Ukrainian southpaw and former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk.

“Fury’s size is what makes him gain more success,” former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder said to Fight Hub TV. “When I see him against Usyk I see how they cheated [Steve] Cunningham with that clubbing, putting his weight on him and clubbing him, and I could see him doing the same thing with Usyk, putting his weight on him.

“I do think Usyk has more skill, but when it comes to the size and stuff I don’t think he’ll be able to compete with the size of Fury. But who knows, that’s just my opinion.”