The mega heavyweight boxing bout brewing between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder has lost some sizzle after the pair suffered a total of five losses since 2019.
Joshua and Wilder once had a stronghold on the sport’s glamour division by possessing all of the heavyweight titles amongst them.
In March 2019, streaming service DAZN offered Wilder $100 million for a three-fight package that would include two fights against Joshua. However, Wilder declined the deal with the streaming service and cited dishonesty.
Instead, Wilder chose to take on Tyson Fury but suffered knockout losses in back-to-back fights. Joshua, meanwhile, has had back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk, as well as a knockout defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr.
Wilder and Joshua have to climb the ladder once again to position themselves back into the world title picture.
One surefire way to get another shot at a championship fight is to first go toe-to-toe against each other to identify a bona fide contender.
Longtime Wilder manager Shelly Finkel is ready to reignite yearslong discussions to stage the fight.
"If [Joshua] needs to take a break and take a fight as a comeback fight or if he feels the real redemption is with Deontay, we're open to it … I'm not closed to it. I would never just walk away from it," Finkel told The Sun.
"[Joshua] was gutsy to go right back into the fight when he clearly lost the first one. But it really depends mentally on what Joshua feels he needs.”
The potential fight is gaining some traction in recent weeks, as Wilder and Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn have traded shots through the media.
But first, Wilder has business to take care of in the ring against Robert Helenius on Oct. 15.
"Right now, we have one fight on our mind, and nothing else, which is Helenius,” said Finkel. "Because, if he doesn't do what he's supposed to do with Helenius, the rest doesn't matter."
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.