Wilder rejects Joshua fight for April, prefers Fury rematch

Image: Wilder rejects Joshua fight for April, prefers Fury rematch

By Scott Gilfoid: Anthony Joshua can forget about a fight against unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder for April 13, as the American knockout artist wants a rematch against Tyson Fury to clear up the controversy over their 12 round split draw earlier this month on December 1. Wilder says it would be “dumb” to move forward from the draw against lineal champion Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) to scrap it out with IBF/WBA/WBO champion Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) in a unification fight at Wembley Stadium in London, England in April.

You can argue that Wilder didn’t really need to waste his breath justifying his decision to fight a rematch with the 6’9″ Fury, since Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing haven’t made much of an effort to negotiate a fight with him. Wilder has been given flat fee offers, and not percentage deal offers that are normally done between two superstars.

Wilder, 32, is an old school type of heavyweight. He doesn’t believe in moving on after a draw. A lot of fighters from this era would be happy with a draw, and would see it as the next best thing to a win, and just move on with that. Wilder isn’t that kind of guy. He wants to get back into the ring, and show the boxing world that he’s the better fighter than Fury. Wilder had Fury knocked out in the 12th round after dropping him with a 1-2 combination, but the referee decided to give a count instead of waiving it off immediately to have the British fighter checked out by medical staff. While the referee was counting, Fury snapped awake, and got back to his feet. It was a brave thing on Fury’s part, but he was lucky that he a referee that decided to give him a count rather than stopping the fight.

“It’d be dumb to just fight somebody else while you’ve already got a fight everyone is talking about. That’d be stupid,” Wilder said to Fighthype about his preference to fight a rematch with Fury over a unification match against Joshua. “I’m going with Tyson Fury, for sure. We’ve got to do the rematch. It gotta come right back. It was a controversial fight and when it’s like that you’ve got to come back,” Wilder said.

Joshua wants a fight with Wilder to try and take his WBC title to add to his collection of heavyweight belts that he’s accumulated in the last two years. The World Boxing Council title is the last piece of the puzzle that Joshua needs for him to be the unified champion. Joshua insists that he’s going to get his hands on Wilder’s WBC title one way or another. However, with Wilder not interested in a unification fight with Joshua at the moment, AJ is going to need to chill and be satisfied facing fellow Matchroom Sport stable-mate Dillian Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs) in a rematch on April 13 at Wembley Stadium.

Joshua will put a smile on his promoter Eddie Hearn’s face by fighting Whyte in April, since that he’s been eager to make for months. Whyte wants the fight even more than Hearn does. Joshua vs. Whyte 2 is a BIG fight as far as British boxing fans go, but considerably less so from U.S fans’ perspective. That’s a fight that won’t interest American fans. It’s a needless rematch in the eyes of U.S boxing fans, who would rather see Joshua fight Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz or Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller than watching a retread fight between him and a fighter that he knocked silly in seven rounds in 2015. Welcome to this era of boxing, folks. Nowadays, promoters love matching their fighters with each other repeatedly in what is called ‘in house fights.’ Hearn hasn’t been promoting Whyte for that long, so that might explain why the two of them are only now about to fight for the second time.

Wilder was quite pleased to hear Joshua being booed last Saturday night the Whyte vs. Chisora 2 rematch at the O2 Arena in London, England. The fans were booing Joshua at the top of their lungs, and you can guess why. The fans are angry that Joshua hasn’t fought Wilder yet. Joshua entering the ring after the Whyte-Chisora fight made it crystal clear that he’s going to fight Whyte next on April 13. It’s likely what kept Joshua from opening his mouth to announce the Whyte rematch was the booing from the boxing fans.

It would have been a major humiliation if Joshua announced the Whyte rematch for April 13 while being booed like crazy from the fans. It was smart for Joshua to hold back, and then tell Whyte that he’s still trying to make the Wilder fight. Whyte looked furious at Joshua when he didn’t come out and say the magic word, ‘You’re next.’ Joshua entering the ring and then NOT announcing the fight with Whyte has to be seen as a result of all the booing from the fans. If the fans had been cheering like mad, you can bet that Joshua would have announced the rematch with Whyte. It’s plain as day.

“I heard they were booing the [expletive] out of Joshua,” Wilder told FightHype.com. “I got some texts or whatever saying the whole entire arena was booing him.

The booing of Joshua looked really bad with him standing there, listening to it. There was nothing he could do about it other than take it, and then make sure he didn’t make it worse by announcing the rematch with Whyte. It would be a good for Joshua to give Hearn his marching orders to either setup a fight against Luis Ortiz next or Jarrell Miller in the United States.

“I’ve been travelling non-stop since that fight, and you gotta have the rematch because people are continually talking about it,” Wilder said. “There can’t be no draws. There’s a winner and a loser. All over the world they’re just talking, talking, talking. The heavyweight division is lit. So we’ve got to keep it flaming up, keep adding that log to it to keep it lit.”

Joshua put Whyte in a bad position last Saturday night when he climbed into the ring, and then didn’t announce their April 13 fight. Joshua actually made it worse by letting Whyte know that his place is behind Deontay and Tyson Fury, letting him know that he’s No.3 on the list. Why would Joshua make a move like during Whyte’s moment in the spotlight? The only explanation is the boos from the crowd cowed Joshua, making him hold back on the announcement.

It’s no secret that the boxing fans want to see Joshua fight Wilder or Fury next, not Whyte. The thing is, if Joshua still winds up facing Whyte on April 13, people going to be just as angry about it. The only difference is Joshua won’t have to hear their wrath like he did last Saturday night at the O2 Arena. Instead, it’ll be Hearn that does the business of announcing the Joshua vs. Whyte 2 rematch with a press release. The boxing fans that turn up to see the news conferences will be docile ones that are in favor of the rematch rather than fully against it.

At this point, the only way Joshua and Hearn are going to get Wilder to agree to a fight on April 13 is if they offer him the 50-50 purse split that he’s been asking for, which they obviously are never going to give him. As such, Joshua is heading for a rematch with Whyte on April 13.