As tantalizing as the prospect might be, Shelly Finkel has no plans of entertaining an undisputed title bout anytime soon for his client Deontay Wilder.
The longtime manager does not think Oleksandr Usyk’s recent minor upset over Anthony Joshua to win three of the four major heavyweight title belts (WBA/WBO/IBF) is any reason for him to start advocating for Wilder, the former heavyweight titleholder from Alabama, to get in the mix.
After all, Wilder himself has to get past Tyson Fury, the WBC champ, in their much-delayed heavyweight trilogy match on Oct. 9 in Las Vegas. More importantly, Joshua has expressed his desire to activate his rematch clause against Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs).
Given that potential timeline, even if Wilder (42-1-1, 40 KOs) defeats Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) Finkel has little desire to try and arrange for an undisputed title shot for his charge, at least in the foreseeable future.
“No, because he has unfinished business, Joshua, and that will take him into next year,” Finkel told Boxing Social in response to whether or not Wilder, in the event he defeats Fury, would immediately try to face either Joshua or Usyk. “The fight is not going to happen before that. We’re only fighting a week after.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Let Deontay win, as I believe he will, and then we will see what we’re looking at in the first quarter to half of 2022. But at this moment it won’t be Joshua or Usyk because they’re going to be dancing with each other.”
Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn has mentioned that the rematch could take place as late as March of 2022.
Finkel has traded words with Hearn over the years, primarily over their failure to consummate a deal between Joshua and Wilder, when both were still undefeated. However, the industry fixture insists he has nothing but respect for the 31-year-old Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs).
“Contrary to popular opinion, I do like Joshua,” Finkel said. “I think he is and was very good for the sport. He brought a lot of interest, as you can tell with 60-something thousand people there. When he fought Klitschko, it was 100 [thousand] or 90 [thousand] or whatever the number was at Wembley. He conducted himself as a gentleman as the champion.”