Hearn: ‘Wilder’s next 2 fights are Ortiz & Kownacki’
By Scott Gilfoid: Eddie Hearn says he’s hearing that WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder already has his next two fights planned out against Adam Kownacki and Luis Ortiz once he gets passed his mandatory Dominic Breazeale next month on May 18.
Hearn, who promotes IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, want to make the unification fight between him and Wilder for all the titles in the division right away rather than waiting.
That can’t happen if Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) already has his next two fights mapped out for him against Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs) and Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs). If Wilder wins those fights, he’ll likely face lineal champion Tyson Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) in a rematch next year.
“Everybody in the business tells me he’s been told, and these fighters have been told, that his next two fights are Ortiz and Kownacki. Only fight we want next is Deontay. They’ve got a plan to fight these other guys in place.” Hearn said to Barbershop Conversations.
Hearn could remove Ortiz from the equation for Wilder if he would simply pay the Cuban talent what he was asking for. It’s said that Ortiz and his management just wanted a little deal sweetener from the $5 million that Hearn offered them. Whether that was a lot more or little is unclear, but Hearn could have certainly dealt them down to make the fight to give Joshua the biggest fight on the market next to Wilder in the U.S. Tyson Fury is a fine fighter, but he’s less well known in the U.S than Luis Ortiz. Hearn dropped the ball in a major way by not sticking it out to hammer out a deal with Ortiz’s management. Hearn wants Joshua to become a star in the U.S, but that’s not going to happen if he matches him against the likes of Andy Ruiz Jr., Trevor Bryan or Michael Hunter. Those guys are a waste of time. Hearn might as cancel Joshua’s June 1st fight altogether so that he can make a big splash against a top talent, be it Wilder or Ortiz.
If Hearn wants to keep Wilder from fighting Kownacki, Ortiz and Fury in that order, he can interupt that sequence at any time he likes. All it requires is he give Wilder the 50-50 purse split that he’s asking for to fight Joshua. That’s the whole reason Wilder is fighting Breazeale now rather than Joshua. Hearn didn’t want to give him 50% of the dough for a fight against Joshua. Wilder wasn’t going to take the smaller end of the purse to fight Joshua, so he moved on and is now defending against his mandatory Dominic Breaeale (20-1, 18 KOs) on May 18 at Showtime Championship Boxing at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Wilder’s popularity is going to skyrocket if he smashes Breazeale, Kownacki, Ortiz and Fury in his next four fights. After fights are done, Hearn may wish that he’d given Deontay the 50-50 deal he was asking for from the beginning.