Hearn doubts Joshua-Wilder fight happens next
By Scott Gilfoid: Eddie Hearn doesn’t think the Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder unification fight will be taking place next in early 2018. Hearn says Joshua could face WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker next. The Wilder fight would take place in the summer.
As far as Wilder needing to face Matchroom Sport fighter Dillian Whyte to get to Joshua, Hearn says he doesn’t have to do that. It was just a suggestion on Hearn’s part that Wilder fight Whyte first to enhance his profile in the UK, but it wasn’t a requirement to earn the Joshua fight. Hearn says Wilder has never fought anyone of substance during his pro career, and he wanted to give him the opportunity to do so.
Of course, you can say pretty much the same thing about Joshua as well. He only has the one fight against 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko. The rest of the guys Joshua has fought have been flawed fighters like Whyte, Eric Molina, Dominic Breazeale and Carlos Takam. Those are not great fighters.
“He doesn’t have to. It’s just a suggestion,” said Hearn to Behind The Gloves, when asked if Wilder still needs to fight Dillian Whyte in order to get the Joshua match. “Deontay Wilder has never boxed anyone of note, so Dillian Whyte is a real fight for him. A lot of people want to see Deontay Wilder fight someone of substance, but he wants to go straight into the Anthony Joshua fight without fighting anyone of substance. That’s not a problem for us either, so it’s to him. It was just a nice, friendly gesture to give Deontay Wilder his biggest purse ever by double. Come over to England and have a nice cup of tea, raise his profile, and then go fight Anthony Joshua after,” said Hearn.
Hearn didn’t understand that by him suggesting that Wilder fight Dillian Whyte to raise his profile, he is putting him in a one down position by making him look like he’s not on the same level as Joshua. If Wilder’s promoter Lou Dibella did the same thing with Joshua by telling him that he needs to fight an American heavyweight like Jarrell Miller to increase his profile in the States, that probably wouldn’t go over well with AJ or Hearn. They would see that as Dibella being bossy and trying to get the upper hand with them. If Wilder were to agree to fight Whyte, Hearn could see that as a sign that he’s admitting that he’s not on the same level as Joshua in terms of popularity. Hearn could then offer Wilder a smaller purse split when it comes time for them to negotiate the fight.
“You can’t say Dillian Whyte is irrelevant, and he’s this and that,” said Hearn. “He’s No.1 in the WBC, so he is relevant, and he will be his mandatory soon. So, he’s going to have to fight him sooner or later. It was never, ‘You have to beat Dillian Whyte to get to Anthony Joshua.’ No problem. If you don’t want to fight Dillian Whyte, no problem,” said Hearn. ”We just thought it was a great idea, and it was a lot of money for you. If you don’t fancy the idea of fighting Dillian Whyte, don’t worry about it. We can talk about the Anthony Joshua fight instead,” said Hearn.
Wilder does not want to fight Whyte, and you can understand where he’s coming from. The World Boxing Council hasn’t made Whyte the mandatory challenger yet for Wilder. But even when they eventually do make that move, it’s not going to happen until 2018, and Wilder likely won’t need to fight Whyte until 2019. It’s a fight that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. By the time Wilder is ordered to fight Whyte, he’ll have already fought Joshua at least once, possibly twice. Hearn is beating a dead horse by continually talking about the Wilder vs. Whyte fight.
Yeah, it’s going to happen eventually if Wilder beats Joshua once or twice, but it won’t happen soon. Hearn needs to hope that Whyte doesn’t get beaten before then, because he looked very beatable in his last bout against Robert Helenius on October 28 in Cardiff, Wales. The way that Whyte looks now, he’ll never beat a contender like Jarrell Miller. It would be a mismatch between them. Hearn should try and make a fight between Whyte and Miller if he believes in his fighter. It would give Whyte a chance to fight a notable heavyweight, so he can raise his own profile for the future. Right now, Whyte only has that one fight against Dereck Chisora as his best win of his career, and that victory was VERY controversial if I do say so. The two heavyweights fought last December, and Whyte won a controversial 12 round split decision. Boxing News 24 had Chisora winning the fight. Whyte vs. Chisora 2 would be a great fight for February 3rd at the O2 Arena in London, UK. That’s the date and the venue that Hearn wants Wilder to face Whyte. Since that’s not going to happen, Hearn should look to make the Whyte vs. Chisora rematch so he can keep those two fighters happy.
“Joshua wants to win all the belts by the end of 2018,” said Hearn. ”If it’s not Wilder next, it could be Parker next. The plan is to pick up all the belts, and become the undisputed champion of the world. If the fight with Wilder can be for the undisputed champion of the world, then it’s even better,” said Hearn.
It’s academic that Hearn isn’t going to make the Joshua-Wilder fight next. But the Joshua vs. Parker fight might not happen next either unless Hearn gives the New Zealand heavyweight a fair purse split. The negotiations with Team Parker could fizzle out quickly if Hearn sticks with the 80-20 purse split that is being talked about. Hearn might want to have Jarrell Miller or Whyte ready to step in and take the Joshua fight in March. Joshua might raise his profile in the States if he faces and beats Miller next March. I’m just saying.
“I don’t think the Wilder fight will happen next if we box in March, but maybe we’ll wait until the summer and it next. The conversation is open, and it was positive from both sides. We’ll see what happens,” said Hearn.
So, there it is. Hearn says Joshua vs. Wilder fight won’t happen next. I knew it. I saw that one coming from a mile away. Wilder will be lucky if he gets the fight with Joshua in 2018 at all. If Hearn keeps yapping about Wilder needing to raise his profile first before he makes the Joshua fight, then we won’t see the two of them facing each other until 2019. Hopefully this isn’t payback by Hearn where he’s not giving Wilder the Joshua fight due to him not taking the February 3rd match with Whyte. It sure looks that way to me. Wilder says no to the Whyte fight, and then Hearn says he won’t be matching Joshua against him next. Is it just a coincidence that Hearn isn’t going to give Wilder the Joshua fight next or is it payback? There’s no way of knowing for sure.