Sulaiman: Everything is set for Wilder-Joshua
By Jeff Aranow: World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman was on hand last Saturday night to watch the destruction of the WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) leveled on former world champion Bermane “B-Ware” Stiverne (25-3-1, 21 KOs) in halting him in the 1st round at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Sulaiman believes that Wilder’s brutal 1st round knockout win of Stiverne sets the table for a much bigger fight against IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) next year.
Sulaiman isn’t in the position to try and force Joshua to take the fight. Joshua holds the IBF/WBA heavyweight titles, so it’s not a simple matter of making Wilder the mandatory for one of those belts. Last year, Sulaiman made a future effort to try and force Saul “Canelo” Alvarez to fight middleweight IBF/WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in a unification by making him Canelo’s mandatory challenger.
At the time, Canelo was the WBC 160 lb. title. Everything would have been perfect with that fight taking place if Canelo hadn’t opted to vacate his WB title rather than fight GGG. Canelo wasn’t going to be forced to defend against Golovkin. If it were possible and Sulaiman tried the same move on Joshua, it’s likely he would vacate the WBC title to steer around the Wilder fight, but it doesn’t look like the British fighter wants the fight with the Bronze Bomber right now.
“Everything is set for Wilder versus Joshua,” Sulaiman said. “Wilder told me specifically that he wants Joshua next, and he asked the WBC to do whatever it takes to support the making of this fight. Now it is up to the promoters, managers, and TV corporations to make it happen. Both fighters want it, the world wants it, and boxing needs it.”
Sulaiman is wrong when he says, “both fighters want it.” That’s a little off. Wilder clearly wants the fight with Joshua, but the feelings don’t seem to be at all mutual. Jacobs has been silent since Wilder destroyed Stiverne last Saturday night. Wilder called Joshua out in front of the entire world when interviewed after the fight. The logical thing for Joshua to do would have been to make a statement to the boxing press to let Wilder and the fans know that he’s willing to meet Wilder. Jacobs didn’t do that. He’s stayed silence ever since the victory by Wilder, which suggests that he doesn’t really want the fight with him.
The fans want the Wilder vs. Joshua fight, and you can expect them to apply more pressure over time. It’s unclear whether Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn will keep insisting that Wilder fight Dillian Whyte without a guarantee of getting a fight with Joshua. That’s the fight that Hearn wants Wilder to take on faith. If Wilder takes the fight and Hearn still doesn’t give him the Joshua fight, then the boxing world will lean a little bit about the British promoter.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn not only wants Wilder to fight Whyte before he’ll consider putting Joshua in with him. He also seems to want to get a couple more fights under the belt of Joshua for easy paydays against WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker and Tyson Fury. Those fights might need to take place before Hearn will let Joshua anywhere near Wilder.