Hearn lists Joshua’s options for December fight

By Boxing News - 05/09/2019 - Comments

Image: Hearn lists Joshua’s options for December fight

By Scott Gilfoid: Deontay Wilder is the primary target that Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn is shooting for to put in with Anthony Joshua for December in a heavyweight unification fight on DAZN and Sky Box Office. Unfortunately for Hearn, WBC champion Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) is unlikely to agree to face IBF/WBA/WBO champion Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs).

It’s not that Wilder wouldn’t take the fight. It’s more of a case of Wilder not willing to accept the fight for the purse split that would be offered to him, which would obviously be less than the 50-50 split that the Alabama native wants for the fight. Unless the World Boxing Council decides to a strange move by installing Joshua as Wilder’s mandatory and then ordering them to fight next, the two likely won’t be facing each other in 2019.

Hearn fails to see the part that he and Joshua both play in why the unification match with Wilder hasn’t been made. Instead of seeing their own role in the failure to get this mouth-watering fight put together, they’re blaming it entirely on Wilder. It almost seems like a game that Hearn and Joshua are playing on the public by constantly mentioning Wilder’s name, saying they want to make that fight, and then blaming him for why isn’t happening. From day one, Wilder has been transparent in what he wants in terms of the purse split in order to make the fight with Joshua. Hearn has seemingly ignored that demand by Wilder, and has continued to talk up the Joshua-Wilder fight, in hopes that the 6’7″ ‘Bronze Bomber’ will eventually change his mind about wanting 50% of the revenue for the fight. By this point, Hearn and Joshua should have realized that Wilder isn’t going to back off from his request. If anything, he might soon be asking for a larger cut than 50% of the loot, especially after he faces Dominic Breazeale and Tyson Fury.

“It’s frustrating because Joshua wants all the big fights, but what can you do? You can just keep winning,” Hearn said to skysports.com. “Josh is fighting June 1, and then he’ll go in November-December, and that’s when we want the Wilder fight. It’s the only fight to make next for both guys, but everything we’re hearing out of their camp is not really giving us much encouragement that this is the fight that is going to happen.”

Hearn sounds completely lost with his pipe dream of Wilder agreeing to fight Joshua in December. Hearn needs to come down to earth and discuss realistic fights that can be made between Joshua and Pulev, Agit Kabayel, Michael Hunter and Luis Ortiz. You can’t rule out a fight between Joshua and Ortiz if Hearn is willing to give the Cuban talent the money that he and his promoters are looking to get for the fight. Hearn can make the fight with Ortiz, and it would interest the U.S boxing public a heck of a lot more than the current challenger Andy Ruiz Jr. (32-1, 21 KOs), who Joshua will be defending his IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titles against on June 1 on DAZN and Sky Box Office PPV at Madison Square Garden in New York. It’s kind of troubling that Hearn believes that the U.S casual boxing fans are going to love the Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. fight instead of hate it. Hearn seemingly doesn’t have his feet on the ground in terms of predicting the reaction the American fans will have for the Joshua-Ruiz Jr. contest.

It’s going to be jarring for the casual fans when the 260+ pound Ruiz Jr. waddles out into the center of the ring on June 1 for their fight at MSG in New York. The sight alone of Ruiz Jr. standing next to the heavily muscled Joshua is going to be off-putting to a lot of casuals. If Joshua obliterates Ruiz Jr. like many believe he’ll be doing in this fight, then fan are going to be all over Hearn for putting this fight together. That’s why it’s important for Hearn to make sure that Joshua’s NEXT opponent is a quality one that is in shape, talented and capable of possibly beating Joshua. Ortiz is at the top of the list in that department in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans.

Hearn mentions these heavyweights as options for Joshua’s next fight in December:

Oleksander Usyk

Dillian Whyte

Kubrat Pulev

Deontay Wilder

Usyk, 32, is injured right now after suffering a bicep injury during training for his May 25 fight against former world title challenger Carlos Takam. That fight is now been postponed. It’s HIGHLY unlikely that Usyk will be able to face Joshua in December given his injury. If the Usyk’s fight with Takam is rescheduled for June or July, it’s not realistic for Hearn to look to schedule a fight between the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Oleksandr and Joshua for December. Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) is likely going to want to take another tune-up, preferably against a talented heavyweight that’s not shot to pieces in order for him to get ready to take on Joshua in 2020. Takam, 38, is a decent heavyweight, but let’s not forget the fact that he’s lost two out of his last three fights. One of those defeats was at the hands of 35-year-old journeyman Dereck Chisora. I mean, that kind of tells you all you need to know about where Takam is at right now. He’s not the spring chicken he was six years ago, is he?

“Maybe the Dillian Whyte fight happens in December. He’s got to beat Oscar Rivas first,” Hearn said.

Eddie putting together a fight between Joshua and Whyte is a similar situation as putting the Joshua-Ortiz fight together. Whyte is looking for a certain amount of money. It’s unclear if he wants the same 60-40 split that Hearn has dangled in front of Wilder and Tyson Fury for a fight against AJ. Whyte said this week that he sees himself as the #3 heavyweight in the division in front of Fury. So, if Whyte feels that he should be rated ahead of the 6’9″ Fury, then it’s likely that he’s going to want at least 40% of the purse for a fight with Joshua. In other words, Whyte would be asking for the same 60-40 split that Hearn is offering to Fury for a fight with Joshua.