Eddie Hearn, promoter for IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, believes a pay-per-view fight with Deontay Wilder, who holds the WBC belt, would now generate over a million pay-per-view buys in the United States.
Last year, Hearn made a prediction of last than half a million buys. But December's fight between Wilder and Tyson Fury, which ended in a controversial twelve round split draw, generated headlines all over the world.
“AJ against Wilder last September might have done 300-400,000 buys in the States. Now it does over a million. Part of that is down to Wilder and we give him that respect, now it’s down to what we do over there to amplify that," Hearn said to Boxing News.
Wilder is now on pace to a rematch with Fury in the coming months.
And Joshua is set to make his American debut on June 1, in a title defense against unbeaten Jarrell Miller at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Should both champions win, Hearn believes the fight would be even bigger on pay-per-view.
“I pray that Fury doesn’t commit to a rematch [with Deontay Wilder] because he doesn’t have to in the purse bid. If he does that, he’s mad because it will kill the Joshua fight should he win,” Hearn said. “In that respect it’s better for us if Wilder wins the rematch [with Fury], especially if Joshua fights Miller in America in June. That starts making the $50 million offer look like peanuts," Hearn said.
Hearn also disputes any talk that Joshua has lost his momentum as the top heavyweight in the division.
“I’m not sure it’s momentum [lost]. We were the stand out number one. There was no one even close, now he’s still the standout number one but there’s people kicking at his heels. That’s the difference really. I think there’s that element of the man on the street says ‘Joshua, you don’t want to fight Fury or Wilder’ but for us it’s not really about one fight. This is about his career and his legacy and what he’s going to do," Hearn said.
He’s had 22 fights, he’s going to end up having 30 or 35 fights so watch to see what happens. If it means taking one interim bout outside of our comfort zone, to do something different and to grow Joshua then we’ll do that. The American move will be part of that strategy, which I didn’t feel would come now."