Joshua: “Wilder, let’s go, baby”
By Tim Royner: Moments after defeating WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) to claim the WBO belt, IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) called out WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) and challenged him to step it up for them to face each other next. However, at the same time Joshua was calling out Wilder, he was also setting up a roadblock by saying that the fight must take place in the UK rather than America.
(Photo credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME)
Joshua doesn’t want to fight in the U.S for some reason, which is too bad because he’s already going to get the larger burse than Wilder if the fight takes place.
The final scores were 118-110, 118-110 and 119-108, all for Joshua. The boxing crowd at the Principality Stadium was behind Joshua the entire time. There were 80,000 fans in attendance, but it seemed like fewer, as there wasn’t a lot to cheer about during the fight. It was mostly a tactical chess match with both fighters focusing on boxing rather than slugging.
Parker, 26, tried his best to win tonight, but he was handicapped by his lack of size, ambition, power and because of the referee Giuseppe Quartarone not allowing him to fight inside. All three of those were factors in Parker losing the fight. If Parker was the same size as Joshua and if the referee had let him fight in close, it would have been a different story.
“Don’t believe the hype about him,” Joshua said about Wilder after beating Parker tonight. ”People who know me know I don’t do that, so we will sit down, my team and Eddie Hearn and then they can talk to his team and Al Haymon, then we’ll see. Just like Dillian said, Wilder, Let’s gooooo!”
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing had a more negative message to give pertaining to the Joshua-Wilder fight in saying that Wilder doesn’t want the fight. Hearn has been viewed as the guy that has been stopping Joshua from facing Wilder by insisting the American face his fighter Dillian Whyte first to earn the shot against Joshua without any guarantees that he’ll be able to fight for the title. Joshua is going to need to get some kind of control over his promoter Eddie Hearn if the fight with Wilder is going to happen, because he’s trying to press the American into fighting Whyte first. That seems to be a move being done to further his end rather than Joshua’s. Whyte is one of Hearn’s fighters. So if he beats Wilder, this value as a fighter for his Matchroom Boxing stable will increase considerably. But in the meantime, Joshua will be stuck with a rematch against Whyte that will likely make much less money than him facing Wilder.
”Let’s make this fight happen,” Wilder said after learning of Joshua’s victory over Parker.
Hearn said this to Sky Sports News about Wilder supposedly not wanting to fight Joshua:
”They don’t want it. They have never approached us. Joshua has fought all the champions and got the belts. After 21 fights, he has a chance to be the undisputed champion of the world. Wilder’s people don’t contact us. He talks the talk but he can’t walk the walk. He’s [Joshua] has 21 fights and got 4 belts. Last fight, Wilder boxed in front of 6000 to 7000. Have you seen where he boxes? In some great venues, but with no one there. Look at what Joshua is doing,” Hearn said.
Hearn appears to be trying to minimize Wilder’s accomplishments in order to have him dismissed as a champion, and as a credible opponent for Joshua. In so doing, Hearn can then do one of two things: He can either give Wilder a low ball offer of a fraction of the purse Joshua will be for a unification fight between them or he can ignore him and continue to steer Joshua into safer waters against fighters that aren’t a big threat to beating him.
“No [I won’t be going to America],” Joshua said. “UK and British boxing is the best and representing not just this division but we go down to the lower weight and we are representing. All the time people had to go out to America to watch it, they don’t need to anymore. They can come to Cardiff, or Wembley. We will stay here. Remember that I am the unified heavyweight champion of the worlds. That is 21 professional fights with six world title fights in it,” Joshua said.
Joshua isn’t even signed to fight Wilder, and he’s already sending him a strong message that he can forget all about fighting him in the U.S. It’s bad news when fighters start ruling out different things before the fight has even gotten to the negotiation stage. That move by Joshua was his way already putting Wilder in a one-down position by letting him know he’s not going to have a chance of fighting in his home country of the U.S if they fight. Hearn said before that he wanted to have one fight in the U.S between them and then the second one in the UK. With Joshua now ruling out a fight in the U.S altogether, it’s basically his way of saying it’s going to be his way or no way.
Parker took the high road after the fight, saying, “I lost to the better champion tonight; the bigger man. We will back again stronger and I’m happy I went the twelve rounds. I would love another go. We could have worked inside more, but whatever happened, happened. You can’t go back and change all that. I am young, strong, fit and ready to come back and challenge again,” Parker said.
Parker is young enough to work his way back to a title shot against Joshua if he puts together a string of victories. It’s still likely going to take 2 or 3 years before that happens unless Parker can get some important wins under his belt in a hurry. The best way for Parker or any contender to get back into position to fight for a title is to take on the highest rated contenders possibly in a short period of time.