Anthony Joshua likely to scrap April 13 fight at Wembley Stadium
By Tim Royner: After months of searching for an opponent for IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s April 13 fight date at Wembley Stadium, it appears that his promoter Eddie Hearn is going to give up that date, and instead look to move his fight to June, possibly in New York against American Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs). The negotiations with Dillian Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs), who Hearn had hoped would be Joshua’s opponent on April 13, has been glacially slow and seems to be going nowhere.
Hearn hasn’t been able to get Whyte to agree quickly to any of the offers that he’s made to him for the fight. Hearn said this week that Whyte wants a 60/40 split, which is the same split that he offered to World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) and lineal champion Tyson Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs). Hearn says Whyte wants more time to prepare for the fight with Joshua. So even if they could make a deal right now, which they still can’t, Whyte wouldn’t be ready to fight on April 13. Hearn says Joshua would be ready, because he had always planned on fighting in April, 20, so he’s been training all this time.
“It looks like April 13 is unlikely,” said Hearn to IFL TV. “I think Dillian thinks, for a fight like that, he’d want a bit more time. So, if we do the Whyte fight, I think we move it to May or June anyway. But the Jarrell Miller fight is very close for June at Madison Square Garden,” Hearn said.
This isn’t a bad deal for Joshua not getting the Whyte fight for April 13. Hearn co-promotes unbeaten Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, and its a simple matter of negotiating a fight against him for June at Madison Square Garden in New York. It’s a good fight, and it would help Joshua establish himself in the United States against a fighter that is very good at marketing his fights. Up until now, Miller hasn’t had a popular enough opponent to give him the chance to take advantage of his ability to sell his fights. It’s been hard for Miller to get the casual and hardcore boxing fans excited about wanting to watch his fights when he’s been facing the likes of Mariusz Wach, Tomasz Adamek and Bogdan Dinu. That’s about to change though if Miller can get a title shot against the unbeaten Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) for June. Hearn wants to increase Joshua and Miller’s popularity, and the best way to do that is to match them against each other in New York.
The fight that Hearn and Joshua want is against WBC champion Wilder, but he’s busy with setting up a rematch against Tyson Fury. Wilder almost lost his previous fight with Fury on December 1 after the two fought to a controversial 12 round majority draw in Los Angeles, California.
Whyte, 30, thinks that there was never any serious intent on Joshua’s fight to fight him on April 13. Whyte thinks that Miller has been the guy that he wanted from the very beginning for his next fight.
“We could have made this fight if Joshua really wanted it, but it has been clear to me all along that they’ve been focused on making the Jarrell Miller fight in New York City on DAZN,” Whyte said to the The Telegraph. “I’d love to fight AJ, but it’s obvious that he doesn’t want it,” said Whyte.
Another problem that has gotten in the way of Joshua fighting the top guys is his promoter Hearn believing that none of the top three guys – Wilder, Fury and Whyte – deserve anywhere close to the same kind of money that Joshua would be getting. Hearn is accustomed to setting up fights for Joshua where he’s getting the lion’s share of the money. Now that Hearn has to deal with the more popular heavyweights, Wilder, Fury and Whyte, he’s not been able to make the mental adjustments in negotiating with those types of fighters. Hearn still has the same mindset that he had when he was setting up fights for Joshua against less popular fighters.