by David P. Greisman

A heavyweight title unification fight between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder could take place in the second half of next year, according to Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza.

“Anthony is probably looking at fighting again in October or November, and then he’s got a [Joseph] Parker mandatory at some point early next year,” Espinoza told BoxingScene.com. “

But Joshua (17-0, 17KOs) will need to wait for Wilder (36-0, 35KOs) to return to the ring after injuring his hand and bicep in a victory over Chris Arreola in July.

“Deontay is probably not back until late spring, and allowing some time for him to get back in the swing of things, I think you can start realistically talking about those two [facing each other] toward the third or fourth quarter of 2017,” Espinoza said. “It would be earlier, but for the unfortunate situation with Deontay’s injury.”

Joshua is signed to a deal with Showtime. Wilder has appeared on the network, as well as on other broadcasts that air the “Premier Boxing Champions” series headed by Wilder’s adviser, Al Haymon.

And so the fight would be on Showtime or its broadcast sibling, CBS — or it could potentially end up on pay-per-view, according to Espinoza.

“We’ll see where those fighters are,” Espinoza said. “I’m not so sure that a Wilder vs. Joshua as a heavyweight unification fight isn’t a pay-per-view in the fall.”

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