by Steve Kim
One of the most anticipated match-ups in all of boxing would be the heavyweight unification bout between Anthony Joshua (who has possession of the WBA, IBF, IBO and WBO belts) and Deontay Wilder (who has ownership of the WBC title) but it doesn't look like they're any closer to actually meeting in the ring in the upcoming year.
Wilder is scheduled to face Tyson Fury on December 1st at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and his representatives have refused to meet with Matchroom Sports (which promotes Joshua) in regards to this match-up while this upcoming fight is impending.
After months of posturing between the two factions, you could say things are at an impasse.
"It's frustrating," admitted Eddie Hearn, who promotes Joshua, to BoxingScene.com.
"Sometimes we get a little bit of criticism - or Joshua does - about not wanting to fight Wilder. But I don't know what else we can do, if the other part of that fight isn't even prepared to discuss it. It's very difficult to try to make any kind of progress. So we've made him a revised offer, much better and it's a two-fight offer this time around and we believe it certainly warrants a conversation or a meeting and we can't wait till December 1st and then start negotiating because it's not something that's going to happen in a week, this deal."
Wilder's side had balked at previous offers because there was no rematch clause and the financial offer was a flat fee.
Hearn continued, "we just want to start the negotiations now where we're working on the basis that he beats Tyson Fury and working off the basis that his profile increases and his value increases. So let's try to make some progress now before that December 1st fight and if he gets the job done we move on and sign the fight."
So if Wilder were to defeat Fury and decided to buzz Matchroom Sports in regards to a Joshua fight for the spring of 2019, would it be too late?
"We probably would have moved onto another opponent, to be honest," said Hearn, this past Friday while in Chicago for his card that was streamed on DAZN.
"I mean, I don't have to sign the fight before December 1st but we need to make some kind of headway because we know how much work there is to do."
Hearn notes that Joshua-Wilder has been talked about since Joshua faced Carlos Takam last year and he states - "I don't think we've made a great deal of progress. So how do you think we're going to get a fight made in three or four weeks? It's unlikely, so we don't feel it's unreasonable in a fight of this magnitude to have a face-to-face meeting and see if we can make any progress."
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com