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Anthony Joshua says he’s in training for Deontay Wilder fight

Anthony Joshua Deontay Wilder

By Allan Fox: Anthony Joshua is sounding confident about his unification fight against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder getting made, and he’s already started training for the fight. Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) says he’s not interested in fighting his WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin right now, not with the Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) fight ahead of him.

Joshua sounds like he’s very interested in fighting Wilder, and he’s not talking about wanting to drag it out until 2019 or 2020. Joshua wants that fight next.

IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua sees the Wilder fight as the last hurdle in him unifying the division following his 12 round unanimous decision victory over former WBO champion Joseph Parker on March 31. That fight saw Joshua display a different fighting style from start to finish. Joshua seemed to have morphed into a Wladimir Klitschko clone, fighting exactly in the same way that he had during the second part of his career after he signed on Emanuel Steward as his trainer.

Joshua’s new fighting style seems to have taken care of his stamina problems that he’d shown in his two previous fights against Carlos Takam and Klitschko. He wasn’t hit as much, and he didn’t taken shaken up like he’d been in both of those fights. The flipside was that Joshua wasn’t as thrilling to watch as he’d been in the past. Joshua’s new conservative style of fighting has made him duller, but he still got the win and that’s the important part.

“That’s the next fight hopefully,” Joshua said to PeptalkUK. “I got my hands free. I completed my task against Joseph Parker. I feel refreshed now, because I feel this is the last hurdle, Deontay Wilder. We’re in the process of exchanging offers, and just going through the finer details now, bro,” Joshua said.

Joshua saying the word, “hopefully” does leave some doubt whether the fight with Wilder will happen. You never like to see a fighter or his promoter saying, “hopefully” when it comes to the negotiations, because that suggests that they’re not sure whether the fight can get made or not. There are a lot of boxing fans who believe that Hearn doesn’t want this fight, because things could slip out of his control if Wilder lands one of his big right hands.

It doesn’t matter how talented Joshua is or how much experience he had as an amateur. If Wilder lands with full power on the chin of Joshua, then it’s just basic physics at that point. Joshua will go down and likely stay down. If Wilder gets Joshua hurt, as Wladimir Klitschko did, he’s not going to wait to hear from his trainer or brother whether he should try and finish him off or not. Wilder is going to go after Joshua and bounce more big shots off his chin and finish him. It’ll be a much different type of fight if Wilder gets Joshua hurt compared to when Wladimir did in 2017.

The “finer details” with which Joshua is speaking about are actually the meat and potatoes details, such as the purse split, when and where the fight will take place. Those aren’t finer details, but it’s nice to hear Joshua sounding so confident that the fight will get done. It means that Joshua could be the one that encourages his promoter Eddie Hearn to keep working on getting the fight done with Wilder’s people rather than letting him get frustrated and walk away without getting it cover the finish line. Hearn is used to having his way in negotiations with the management for Joshua’s opponents. It’s not going to be so easy this time. Hearn will need to be a professional about it and realize that he’s not going to be able to get everything his way.

People have been saying for a long time that Joshua is ducking the Wilder fight. Now is his chance to prove those people wrong, as long as Hearn is able to get it made without getting frustrated and giving up.

The offer that Joshua is talking about is the $50 million offer from Wilder’s team. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is said to be making a counter offer, and who knows how much that could be. If he’s asking for more the $50 million guaranteed offer coming from Wilder’s managers Al Haymon and Shelly Finkel, then there could be a problem, because they might not have endless pockets to pull additional money out of to give to Joshua for the fight.

Joshua and Hearn both want the fight with Wilder to take place in the UK. That might be hard for them to get if Wilder’s management are the ones that are coming up with the money. It’s their money, so they’re going to want to dictate where and when the Joshua vs. Wilder fight will take place.

”It’s been like that (strap season) since my 16th fight,” Joshua said in talking about his 2nd round knockout win over former IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin in April 2016 in London, UK. ”That’s the destiny that’s been written. Some people have been in the way, causing a few hurdles, but now we’ve gotten rid of them and now he’s the last one,” Joshua said.

The few hurdles that Joshua is talking about him needing to get out of the way was his win over Wladimir Klitschko to grab the vacant WBA heavyweight title last year in April at Wembley Stadium, and then his victory over WBO champion Joseph Parker in their unification fight last March in Cardiff, Wales. Neither fight was an easy one for Joshua. He had to struggle to win in both cases. Joshua’s victory over Parker was marred by the work of referee Giuseppe Quartarone, who spent a good portion of the fight breaking the two fighters when they were attempting to work on the inside. This affected Parker more than Joshua, because he was the one that was attempting to work on the inside due to his lack of reach.

Wilder, 32, is the last man standing in front of Joshua to prevent him from unifying the heavyweight division. Joshua had 3 of the 4 heavyweight titles now, and all he needs is to take Wilder’s belt for him to be the unified champion. It’s not a given that Joshua will win this fight. He could lose. Wilder is faster, taller and the bigger puncher of the two.

”I’m training from now for that fight,” Joshua said. ”It seems to be the most important one. The e-mails have been the cherry on the top as far as of what the fight incurs as far as finance. But other that, now we’re just going through the finer details; where it will be, broadcasters and all of that. Promoter talk, you know what I mean? That’s it, honestly. That’s it. Who will promote the show? Where the first press conference will be? That’s the fight I want. It’s here now,” Joshua said.

It sounds like Joshua really wants to take the fight with Wilder next. If Joshua is already training for the fight, then we’re looking at a possible fight between him and Wilder in the summer, as long as Hearn doesn’t muff it.

”We were looking at the options, WBA, mandatories, Povetkin,” Joshua said. ”I’m not really interested in that. Not right now when there’s the option to fight Wilder. That’s it for this year,” Joshua said.

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