Joshua doesn’t want to hype Wilder fight until it’s signed
By Scott Gilfoid: IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua says WBC champion Deontay Wilder is welcome to attend his March 31 fight against WBO champion Joseph Parker, but he’s not all that interested in hyping their fight afterwards.
Joshua sees it as a waste of time to begin getting boxing fans interested in his unification fight with Deontay until the fight is signed. Until then, Joshua has no interest in using the spotlight of his fight with Parker to go into theatrics with the 6’7” Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) inside the ring at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Joshua’s approach to not wanting to hype the Wilder fight on March 31 might not make his promoter Eddie Hearn happy, because they need to take advantage of the huge amount of boxing fans that will be watching the fight. There’s no better opportunity to start selling the Joshua-Wilder fight than immediately after the Parker fight is done on March 31. Joshua says he wants to be considered the best fighter in the heavyweight division, but to be that person, you need to be able to sell yourself and your fights.
The UK boxing fans obviously love Joshua, but he’s an unknown outside of his country in the U.S. He needs to be a little more outgoing and willing to show some personality if he wants to interest the U.S boxing fans. I’m just saying. Joshua can’t let the opportunity pass him by on March 31 to begin selling the Wilder fight. If that fight is going to take place next, as Hearn has been saying is a possibility, then Joshua must sell the Wilder fight immediately. Wilder-Parker will be televised in the U.S on Showtime Boxing. Hearn wants Joshua to become a star in the U.S, but that’s not going to happen if Joshua is acting like he can’t be bothered hyping the Wilder fight.
“With Wilder, I’m just not into the hype. If he wants to come over, get in the ring and all that stuff – I just prefer it if he had a fight in place to talk about, because if not, it’s just hype,” Joshua said to skysports.com.
Joshua sounds like he doesn’t want to put in the effort to create new boxing fans by working to interest them in the unification fight between him and Wilder. This doesn’t surprise me one bit, as Hearn said recently that Joshua doesn’t do what Wilder does in going out and selling his fights by giving countless interviews. Hearn says that Joshua tells him that’s his job to sell the fight. He just wants to workout.
That’s too bad Joshua isn’t willing to do the work to market himself the way he needs to, because he’ll never become a star with his passive approach to getting non-UK boxing fans interested in his fight. I almost feel sorry for Wilder, because he’s going to have to do all the heavy lifting to get U.S fans interested in a fight between him and Joshua. If Joshua is just going to be a prop inside the ring, then Wilder will have to try and shame him into reacting by getting in his face and trash talking him to the point where he’s literally forced to say something.
“Yes, he’s more than welcome, but the difference is – when Klitschko come over to watch me in Manchester, we had signed a deal. It was signed and sealed, provided I won,” Joshua said about Wilder.
The negotiations for the Joshua-Wilder fight have been crawling. Hearn doesn’t want to give Wilder a 50-50 deal in terms of the purse split for the fight, and it doesn’t look like Wilder’s 40 percent offer is a small enough cut for him to get the fight.
Wilder said recently that he’ll take 40 percent of the loot for the Joshua fight if the same deal is done in reverse for the rematch. It doesn’t look like Hearn even wants to give Wilder 40 percent, which is sad, because the fight might not get made if the Bronze Bomber is expected to take 30 percent. I don’t think that’s going to work. It’ll definitely not work if Joshua is knocked out by Parker on March 31. Hearn will need to back off and come to his senses that his fighter Joshua is not able to offer a trifle to Wilder and expect him to eagerly accept the smaller money.
Joshua needs to be more like Chris Eubank and Naseem Hamed in selling his fights. Those guys did a great job of getting boxing fans interested in their fights with the theatrics they would show, and excellent interviews. You never saw a boring interview by Eubank and Hamed. They realized that each time they gave an interview, it was an opportunity for them to sell themselves to the boxing public to create new fans.
Joshua seems averse to that process. He just wants the boxing fans to fall into his lap passively like with gravity. Unfortunately, a fighter has to do more than just win their fights. That’s just half of it. The other half is selling yourself to the boxing fans by giving great interviews, saying the right things, and being theatrical. Joshua is so wooden when he’s giving interviews. There’s no emotion half the time, and doesn’t seem like he’s mentally engaged properly with the whole process.
Wilder is so much better at giving interviews and selling his fights. The guy isn’t lazy. He’s willing to do the challenging work needed to make himself a star outside of the ring and inside it.
Unfortunately, Joshua isn’t cut from the same cloth as Deontay. Joshua is more of a wall flower, someone that tries to blend in rather than standing out. That puts a heavy burden on Hearn, who has to do the talking for Joshua. Hearn lacks the charisma to create the interest in Joshua’s fights. Hearn is just blathering most of the time, and it’s rather tiresome to listen to. Joshua is the guy that needs to be selling himself, but with his stance of not being interested in hyping his fights, it’s not going to happen.