By Keith Idec
Anthony Joshua understands Deontay Wilder’s strategy.
Fighting Tyson Fury won’t just take an option away from Joshua for what would be a huge event in the United Kingdom.
Defeating Fury also would make Wilder more valuable whenever his team returns to the negotiating table with Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter.
“We have to fight – there’s no two ways about it,” Joshua told Sky Sports. “Remember, we’ve been negotiating since I fought [Carlos] Takam last year. I’ve been trying to get a fight with Wilder. It’s been going on for a long time. It feels very difficult.
“That is why I know the strategy is for him to fight Fury after a three-year layoff. He’s got a good chance of beating him. It will boost his profile, so when he comes back to the negotiating table he will have a better leg to stand on.”
The 32-year-old Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is expected to make an optional defense of his WBC heavyweight title against England’s Fury (26-0, 19 KOs) on November 17. The Wilder-Fury fight likely will take place in Las Vegas, but a site deal hasn’t been finalized.
“Tyson Fury’s strategy is to put some money in the bank after a three-year layoff,” Joshua said. “He’ll continue talking rubbish, as he does. In the long run, thunder strikes and it continues to strike. It’s not like they’ve stolen the limelight. There’s enough on the table for everyone to eat, in my opinion.”
The 28-year-old Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) is scheduled to make a mandatory defense of his WBA title against Alexander Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) on September 22 at Wembley Stadium in London (DAZN; Sky Sports Box Office). If Joshua beats Russia’s Povetkin, Wembley Stadium has been reserved for Joshua to return the ring April 13.
Joshua and Hearn have said they want to make the Wilder fight for that night if Wilder defeats Fury.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.