by Shaun Brown
Promoter Eddie Hearn says unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will have a contract in front of him by the end of this week to sign to fight unbeaten unified champion Anthony Joshua in a super-fight later this year in the UK.
Hearn spoke to Sky Sports News today (June 12) in response to news that broke in America yesterday that Wilder had agreed to fight Joshua in Britain and that the "ball was in their court".
Wilder's co-manager and trainer Jay Deas told the AP yesterday: "We offered $50 million, which is what he (Joshua) said he wanted. And he then turned it down. Then they came back with a much, much, much smaller offer for Deontay, which would have been even less than Deontay would have made in the United States, and wanted him to still travel to the U.K. for the fight. And we said yes.
"The reason we did was because Deontay is investing in himself. He wants this for the fans and he wants this for his legacy and he knows that being the undisputed heavyweight champ of the world will give him the financial gain as he proceeds. Even though we would have liked a better deal, Deontay said yes.
"If they keep their word, then we’ve got a fight," Deas said.
"So we’re fully expecting to go to the U.K. and we’re ready. We’re ready to do it tomorrow. All they have to do is tell us where to be and when to be there, and we’ll be there."
Hearn, who signed Joshua after his Olympic gold medal success in 2012, told SSN: "It's great he's come back to us. We made this offer about four weeks ago. I don't know whether he's come back because he's heard we're close to closing the Povetkin fight or whether he actually wants the fight but either way he's gonna be getting a contract from us asap.
Povetkin, Joshua's mandatory challenger for the WBA title, looked to have edged ahead in the race to fight the Brit with a fight between the two looking possible for September. Now, the focus goes back to Wilder but Hearn wants to see if the American is "real" or not.
"He seems to do a lot of talking on social media and we'll see whether its bluster or whether he knows the Povetkin fight is in the balance," said Hearn.
"It has taken him four weeks to come back to us. Certainly if he does want to fight Anthony Joshua and he does accept the deal then we want to try and get that booked in as soon as possible, and we have have to speak to the venues and American TV and try and get this up and running. So we'll find out the truth in the next week or so once the paperwork's in front of him."
After offers here and there, and suggestions that Joshua would have to fight Wilder in the US, Team Joshua planted their feet and would not budge on having the fight on home soil, potentially at Wembley Stadium.
""Anthony Joshua wants to do this fight in the UK. Obviously we've had some great nights with (Wladimir) Klitschko (Carlos), Takam and (Joseph) Parker and he wants to make sure this history making fight takes part in the UK. I think from Deontay Wilder's messages on social media he seems fine with that. Like I said he took nearly four weeks to come back on our offer so we've missed a little bit of time on the venue we want to be in. We see this as a Wembley fight, quite limited in that respect (and) obviously American TV and pay-per-view has to be considered, so we've got to speak to them to see what suits them.
"There's lots to still work out but if he is real then this is good news for the Anthony Joshua-Deontay Wilder fight, and now we move to put everything in place to maximise the revenues of where this will be, when this will be and hopefully get him to sign a contract.
"One thing I can tell you is by the end of this week Deontay Wilder will have a contract in front of him and we'll see if he's real."
Shaun Brown covers British boxing for Boxing Scene. Contact him on Twitter @sbrown2pt0