Hearn has invited Wilder to attend Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. on June 1
By Scott Gilfoid: Eddie Hearn has invited Deontay Wilder to attend Anthony Joshua’s fight on June 1 against Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden in New York. Matchroom Boxing promoter Hearn wants to have WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) sit down with IBF/WBA/WBO champion Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) to try and negotiate a unification fight to get it done for later this year. However, Hearn isn’t sure if Wilder can get the 50-50 split that he’s asking for, but he says it’s a possibility that AJ might agree to it.
Hearn name dropping Wilder’s name to try and get him to come to the Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. could be construed as an effort on his part to get more boxing fans interested in the Joshua-Ruiz Jr. fight.
It’s unlikely that Wilder, 6’7″, will bother attending the Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. Wilder wanted to attend Joshua’s fight former WBO champion Joseph Parker last year so that he could get into the ring, but he wasn’t the green light by Hearn to be able to do that. Both Joshua and Hearn didn’t want Wilder to enter the ring. A lot has changed in the past year, hasn’t it? Given that experience, Wilder likely won’t take Hearn up on the offer to attend the Joshua-Ruiz Jr. fight.
Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. will be streamed on DAZN in the United States, and shown on Sky Box Office in the UK.
Hearn notes that Joshua will have a lot of pressure to beat the American Ruiz Jr. (32-1, 21 KOs) on June 1, and look good doing it. Wilder set a high bar last Saturday night with his first round knockout win over Dominic Breazeale (21-2, 18 KOs) on May 18 in their fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
“It was a fantastic performance. He did exactly what a heavyweight should do,” Hearn said to IFL TV about Wilder’s first round knockout win over Dominic Breazeale. “He was wobbled himself earlier in the round. That’s what he does. He’s erratic, and explosive. He’s vulnerable, but he’s extremely explosive, and dangerous. That’s why people love to watch. AJ beat Breazeale in seven rounds, and Wilder cleaned him out in a round. Next week at the Garden the pressure will be to put on a performance,” Hearn said about Joshua’s fight against Ruiz Jr.
Wilder did a better job of defeating Breazeale than Joshua did in 2016. It took Joshua seven rounds to stop Breazeale three years ago. Wilder stopped Breazeale in the first round. Hearn’s excuse for Joshua taking longer than Wilder was that AJ was ill at the time, and he was a 16-fight novice.
“That fight [Joshua vs. Wilder] has become not only the biggest fight in boxing, but the biggest fight in heavyweight history,” an excitable Hearn said. “I know there’s a chance AJ could lose. I don’t believe he will, but I want to gamble. But do you [Team Wilder] want to gamble? I know if AJ loses, it’s not good for Matchroom. Deontay, Al [Haymon], Shelly [Finkel] do you want to gamble? Fingers crossed that AJ beats Ruiz next week, because we want to put it on them,” Hearn said.
With Hearn’s huge Matchroom stable, he’ll be fine if Joshua loses to Wilder. Hearn’s promotional company has gotten so large that it’s not dependent on Joshua for it’s success. Joshua continues to be the biggest money maker of Hearn’s stable of fighters, but there are other fighters that make money for his stable.
“He’s been invited,” Hearn said about Wilder having been invited to the Joshua vs. Wilder fight on June 1. “I don’t know whether he’ll show up. We need to say to Deontay, ‘No more [Luis] Ortiz and [Adam] Knownacki.’ I saw where he said, ‘Maybe I can have three fights with Ortiz.’ Who wants to see that? Let’s just do it now after the AJ fight [with Ruiz Jr.]. I’ll be in New York for a week. Let’s meet and get it done. Whatever it takes to get it done, let’s do it, because there’s a chance for the world to start standing still to watch world boxing,” Hearn said.
Hearn might have burned his bridges when it comes to trying to get Wilder to come to Joshua’s fights.
“From Anthony Joshua’s side, the only fight he wants, if he beats Ruiz, is Deontay Wilder,” Hearn said. “Why would you do that [fight Ortiz or Kownacki?]. Why would you want to rematch Ortiz when you can fight Anthony Joshua for three times the money. Forget the money; for the undisputed heavyweight champion. Why would you plan to fight Adam Kownacki? They all want you to fight Joshua,” Hearn said.
Hearn is pretty clever mentioning Wilder’s name right now. Joshua can ride on his coattails to get a free ride to help increase the subscribers for the Joshua-Ruiz fight on DAZN, and bring in a lot of PPV buys on Sky Box Office. You can expect Hearn to keep mentioning Wilder’s name as the days draw nearer to Joshua’s fight on June 1 fight against Ruiz.
“This little f—er is going to be letting his hands go like a pest at Madison Square Garden,” Hearn said about Ruiz Jr. “He’s going to be swinging to try and knockout Anthony Joshua. Do not slip up. When the job is done, all the attention and pressure is on Wilder. It’s a huge amount of money for the [Joshua fight for Wilder]. Does he deserve 50-50? We have to sit down and talk with AJ. Am I ruling that out? Not necessarily. That’s a decision for Anthony Joshua,” Hearn said.
Hopefully, Joshua doesn’t gas out and get stopped by Ruiz. Joshua’s stamina is poor at times when he’s forced to fight at a fast pace. Ruiz Jr. might look a totally out of shape, but he actually has a very good engine. You can argue that Joshua’s stamina isn’t as good as Ruiz’s, even though he looks like he’s in better shape.
“Deontay, come to New York, sit down with AJ after the fight, and just talk. let’s try,” Hearn said in inviting Wilder to come to New York to start negotiating the Joshua fight after the Ruiz Jr. match on June 1. “You have to make this fight. This fight is MASSIVE, and it’s for the undisputed.”
The popularity that Wilder has gained from his recent stoppage win over Breazeale has taken his career to the next level. Hearn is pretty clever in picking this time to start inviting him to one of Joshua’s fights. What a dramatic turnaround for Hearn. He goes from letting Wilder know that he won’t be allowed into the ring for Joshua’s fight last year against Parker to falling over backwards to try and get him to come to AJ’s fight with Ruiz. It looks like a classic case of name dropping by Hearn.
“He’s got to take care of all his mandtories,” Hearn said about Joshua if he doesn’t face Wilder next. “He’s got [Oleksandr] Usyk as a mandatory. He’s got [Kubrat] Pulev as a mandatory. They’re decent fighters. They’re not Wilder. If Wilder will not fight AJ, of course, we’ve got to find an opponent. You’ve got to take care of your mandatories as a champion. He also likes the [Luis] Ortiz fight, but if Ortiz is fighting Wilder, then that looks like it’s unlikely,” Hearn said about Joshua.
If Hearn mentioning that Joshua has mandatory challengers to take care of is a ploy to try and get Wilder to agree to fight Joshua in December, it’s probably not going to work,
“The casuals look at Ruiz, and say, ‘He’s not in Joshua’s shape,’ but people in boxing say that’s a much tougher fight than [Jarrell] Miller,” Hearn said.
It’s not just the casual boxing fans that look at Ruiz Jr. and say he doesn’t look in shape. Plenty of hardcore boxing fans are saying the same thing. He doesn’t look in shape, but for some reason he’s able to move his plump body a lot better than the heavy muscled Joshua.