Wilder: Joshua needs to fight me in the U.S
By Jim Dower: Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder wants IBF, WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to come to the U.S to fight him so that he can become a global star in boxing. Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) points out that Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) is from a tiny country that is only the size of Texas, and that he’s not well known in the States. However, Wilder says he doesn’t care where he fights Joshua though. He’s willing to fight him in the UK if he has to.
Wilder, 31, is convinced that Joshua is terrified of fighting him after seeing a recent interview by him in which he appeared ambivalent about taking the fight right now with the “Bronze Bomber” Wilder.
It’s unlikely that Joshua will agree to fight Wilder in the States. The money for the fight would mainly derive from Joshua-Wilder fighting at Wembley Stadium in front of 90,000 boxing fans in London, England. That’s where Joshua and former heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko fought earlier this year on April 29. They both made a lot of money, and Joshua increased his popularity in knocking out the 41-year-old Klitschko in the 11th round. It was one of the most exciting fights in heavyweight boxing in many years in terms of a high publicity match. Both guys were down, and Joshua had to show a lot of heart to come back and stop the 6’6” Klitschko in the later rounds.
If Wilder wants the big payday for the Joshua fight, he’ll need to come over to the UK and fight him in London or some other city where they can bring in a large group of boxing fans. A stadium would be great for the fight.
“To be global, you’ve got to make your name in America and Joshua is not as big as people think he is over here,” Wilder said to skysports.com.
The problem is that Wilder vs. Joshua likely wouldn’t sell a tremendous amount of tickets if it took place in the U.S unless it took place in Wilder’s home state of Alabama. Wilder is correct in that Joshua isn’t well known with the casual boxing fans in the U.S. The reason for that is Joshua has never fought in the U.S.
While Joshua has had a couple of fights piped into the U.S on Showtime Boxing, though fights weren’t shown during primetime, and they were poor match-ups with Joshua facing Erick Molina and Dominic Breazeale. Those guys aren’t well known by the casual boxing fans in the States. Only the hardcore fans know who Breazeale and Molina are.
“It will be a great fight, but he is not that popular over here,” said Wilder about Joshua. ”I had to burst a lot of people’s bubble but he’s not. The UK is about the size of Texas. One state in my country, where people don’t know who Joshua is for real.”
There is a lot of the U.S casual boxing public that don’t even know who Wilder is. The casual boxing fans know who guys like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, but not guys like Wilder, who has fought a lot of the time on Showtime. Moreover, many people don’t subscribe to the premium channels like Showtime and HBO because of the added cost. Just having cable alone is expensive in the U.S. If Wilder is going to fight Joshua in 2018, it’s got to take place in the UK for them to bring in a large gate. Wilder isn’t popular like Saul Canelo Alvarez or Mayweather, and Joshua is even less popular in the U.S. He’s known only by the hardcore boxing fans.
Wilder was complaining this past week that Joshua is talking about not wanting to fight him until 2020. Wilder thinks Joshua fears him. If that’s truly the case that Joshua won’t be fighting him until 2020, then Wilder shouldn’t worry about whether he’s popular or not in the U.S. There’s no point in talking about the Joshua fight until it happens in 2020 or whenever.
Wilder has a mandatory title defense next month against former WBC champion Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) on November 4 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Stiverne, 38, will be stepping in to replace Wilder’s previously scheduled opponent Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs), who tested positive for drugs during the pre-testing by VADA. If Wilder doesn’t win that fight against Stiverne, then he can forget about a fight against Joshua for the time being.
Wilder might still get a fight against Joshua in the future based on his popularity in the UK, but it likely wouldn’t happen in 2018.
Joshua will be defending his IBF/WBA heavyweight titles this month against #1 IBF Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) on October 28 on Sky Box Office pay-per-view at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Joshua, 27, needs to beat Pulev for a fight against Wilder to become a reality. If Joshua loses to Pulev, then he’s not going to be looking to face Wilder anytime soon. Joshua would want to try and avenge the loss to Pulev, so he proves to the boxing world that the loss was a fluke thing. Joshua came close to losing his fight with Wladimir. That fight showed that Joshua has some areas of his game that he needs to improve on with his stamina and his defense. Joshua was getting hit cleanly by Wladimir when he was letting his hands go in their fight last April. It was lucky for Joshua that Wladimir didn’t throw a lot of shots.
Wilder and Joshua both need to keep winning so that their fight against each other can take place in the future. A loss for either of them would be unacceptable.
“Even Eddie Hearn says his man will knock me out in three, so why haven’t you made the fight yet?” said Wilder.
Wilder will get the fight with Joshua when he and his promoter Hearn are ready to make the fight. They’re not ready right now. Hearn has said recently that he wants to make the fight with Wilder by next summer. He might change his mind though. Wilder should roll with the punches and take the fight with Joshua when Hearn is ready to give it to him.
Hearn wanted Wilder to help build up the Joshua fight by facing British heavyweight Dillian Whyte first. By fighting Whyte, Wilder would get the boxing fans in the UK excited about seeing him facing Joshua in 2018. Wilder is not interested in taking Hearn up on his offer to fight Whyte for the money he’s willing to pay. Wilder says he wants $7 million for the Whyte fight. Hearn is interested in paying him less than half that figure at $3 million to fight Whyte. Hearn points out that the $3 million is twice the amount that Wilder normally makes for his fights. Wilder wants more for a fight with Whyte.
You can say that Wilder has priced himself for the Whyte fight, which is his way of telling Hearn that he’s not interested in fighting Whyte now. Wilder wanted to fight former Matchroom Sport heavyweight Luis Ortiz, but he tested positive for a banned drug. Wilder would also like to fight WBO champion Joseph Parker in 2018 if he stays a champion long enough for them to meet up. Parker isn’t looking too good right now, so it’s not likely Wilder will ever get a chance to fight him before he loses his WBO title.