By Keith Idec
Deontay Wilder thinks Anthony Joshua wants to fight him.
Wilder doesn’t get the same feeling from Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter. According to Wilder, until Hearn wants their showdown to take place as much as Joshua boxing fans will continue to wait for the sport’s two undefeated heavyweight champions to square off.
The WBC heavyweight champion, fresh off a first-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale on Saturday night, discussed the status of his highly anticipated showdown with Joshua during an appearance Monday morning on the “Boomer and Gio” radio show.
“I’m hearing a lot of things, but I do have people behind scenes and they say Joshua want it,” Wilder told Boomer Esiason and Greg Giannotti on WFAN in New York. “They say he wants it. No matter, you know, his feelings of fear or whatever, he wants to make the fight happen because the pressure is on him. When you’re the fighter, most of the pressure is on you. Like I said, you can be the promoter, you can be the manager and stuff, but you don’t never have to enter the ring not a day in your life. But as a fighter, we don’t want that negative energy that’s like we’re the one that’s holding it up or we don’t want the fights.”
The 33-year-old Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) is confident he and Joshua won’t become the Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe of this generation. Brooklyn’s Bowe and England’s Lewis never fought, despite that the rivals once were considered the top two heavyweights in boxing.
Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s co-manager, said during the post-fight press conference early Sunday morning that he remains in contact with DAZN’s John Skipper about making a Wilder-Joshua fight.
England’s Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) is scheduled to defend his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles against Andy Ruiz (32-1, 21 KOs) on June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Assuming the heavily favored Joshua wins, he seemingly is free to fight Wilder next.
Wilder would welcome rematches with Tyson Fury and Luis Ortiz as well and has preached patience in relation to his fight against Joshua coming together. Two months ago, the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native turned down a four-fight offer reportedly worth $120 million from DAZN that would’ve included two fights versus Joshua.
“Like Lennox and Bowe – we seen him physically throw the [WBC] belt in the garbage can,” Wilder said. “His promoter, his manager did do that for him, so that already indicated that he didn’t want that fight. And he gotta deal with that for the rest of his life. In this situation, it’s at a point in time where I say we was gonna smoke him out. And boy, are we doing that. And now Joshua, there’s pressure on him. He wants the fight to happen, but the thing is he signed with Matchroom, which, you know, Eddie Hearn and the people that got him to this point. So, he can only do so much.
“He’s only limited to what he can say and what he can do. We thought that he read everything, being that he’s the talent and that’s what people come to see. They come to him when they come to his country. They’re not talking about anybody else. They’re talking about him, as they should. But we found out once he got into negotiations he don’t have all the say-so. So, not only does he has to want it, but they have to want it as well.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.