By Keith Idec
Anthony Joshua offered reassurance Friday for those beginning to think Joshua-Deontay Wilder won’t happen sometime in 2018.
The unbeaten British knockout artist said during a conference call that there’s “no doubt” that he’ll fight Wilder at some point next year. Joshua cautioned, though, that a heavyweight showdown with Wilder might not be his next fight if he can overcome Cameroon’s Carlos Takam on October 28 in Cardiff, Wales.
A highly anticipated bout between Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs), the IBF/IBO/WBA champion, and Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs), the WBC champion, is predicated on them winning at least one more fight apiece. Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is scheduled to make a mandatory defense of his title in a rematch against former champion Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) on November 4 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“In reality, you know, I look at my situation and I say after this Takam situation, you know, what’s the situation with this WBA saying that I have to follow the mandatory next fight?,” Joshua said. “Only God knows what’s gonna happen with my situation. So I always look at it from a realistic situation. I will fight Wilder next year and make it a blockbuster, a hundred percent. There’s no doubt about that.
“But I wanna speak to you and be real and just say these are the reasons why he’s probably doing what he’s doing, and these are the reasons why it potentially could happen. It might not happen tomorrow or the next fight I have because of certain mandatories that I have. Or, do we just say, ‘You know what, Wilder? Forget that. I’m gonna give up my [WBA] belt and I’m gonna do this because it’s what people want and what I want.’ Do you know what I mean? So we have to make some careful decisions in the making of this fight.”
Joshua, 28, was supposed to make a mandatory defense of his IBF belt against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) a week from Saturday night at Principality Stadium in Cardiff. Pulev withdrew from their fight Monday due to a shoulder injury and was replaced by Takam (35-3-1, 27 KOs), the IBF’s next available contender.
Showtime will televise the Joshua-Takam and Wilder-Stiverne fights in the United States.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.