By Keith Idec
Anthony Joshua’s promoter claims he is ready to sign a contract to fight Deontay Wilder next year.
Joshua first will make a mandatory defense of his WBA heavyweight title against Alexander Povetkin on September 22 at Wembley Stadium in London. If the favored Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) tops Povetkin, a Joshua-Wilder showdown could take place April 13 at Wembley Stadium.
According to Eddie Hearn, all that would be left after Joshua signs his contract is for Wilder to sign the contract he sent Wilder’s handlers in May.
The problem, of course, is that Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) has said since negotiations broke down two weeks ago that he no longer is willing to take a flat fee ($15 million) for fighting Joshua in London. Wilder now wants a 50-50 split.
Hearn thinks Wilder will change his mind once the WBC heavyweight champion calms down.
“I’m pretty confident [Joshua-Wilder will happen],” Hearn told Sky Sports News on Wednesday. “I think at the moment [Wilder is] throwing his toys out of the pram, and eventually we hope he’ll come to his senses. I spoke to Anthony [on Tuesday] and I think that what we’re going to do is all the terms that were agreed by Deontay Wilder have now been put into the contract. They’ve had them now for over a month, and they haven’t done anything. So I think what we’re going to do, we’re going to sign the contract.
“Anthony Joshua says, ‘Let’s sign the contract and put it in front of them, rather than them thinking that we’re bluffing for some bizarre reason, or we don’t want the fight.’ ”
With Joshua headed toward a fight versus Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs), Wilder likely will make a mandatory defense of his WBC title against Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs) in his next bout. Hearn hopes Joshua and Wilder will finally fight after successfully making those mandatory defenses.
“Anthony’s going to have a press conference for his next fight next week and he’ll be in America as well,” Hearn said. “And it will be good to go out there and say we’ve done all we can. ‘You’ve agreed to these terms. We’ve now even signed the contract.’ So, fingers crossed, April 13 at Wembley will be Joshua against Wilder.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.