‘Joshua must put it on Wilder’ says Hearn
By Charles Brun: Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn wants Anthony Joshua to use the spotlight that he’ll have on him this Saturday night to goad Deontay Wilder into fighting him. Joshua will be defending his IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titles against replacement opponent Andy Ruiz Jr. on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
One of the strategies that Hearn has, besides Joshua goading Wilder, is for DAZN chairman John Skipper to negotiate with Wilder.
Eddie wants DAZN boss to negotiate with Wilder
“Let John Skipper go in and try and do a deal with Deontay, and then tie up our end, then it’s happening. But the messages aren’t great, let’s be honest,” Hearn said to IFL TV. “They’re saying they’ve done a deal to fight [Luis] Ortiz next, so how can they fight us next? Wilder comes out and says, ‘I’m not fighting Joshua next, but in boxing, you never know.’ But then all of a sudden, bam! ‘I might be fighting him next.’ Which one is it, do you know what I mean?” Hearn said.
“I never thought I’d be promoting a card at Madison Square Garden, especially a world heavyweight championship. “Three champion fights on the card; Buatsi, Coyle-Algieri, and Josh Kelly in great fights. There’s zero chance of that [meeting with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel]. I think that’s the best way to get it done.”
Assuming that it’s true Wilder’s management have already made a deal with Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz to be his next opponent, then it’s going to be a waste of time for Hearn to have AJ pressure Deontay. If Wilder is already planning on fighting Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs) next, which isn’t a bad fight, it leaves Joshua with no chance to get the fight against him.
Hearn believes that Joshua has a chance of pressuring WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) into fighting him by calling him out in front of the entire world moments after he beats Ruiz Jr. (32-1, 22 KOs). Hearn notes that everything could go to pieces if Joshua loses to the 29-year-old Ruiz Jr., which is possible.
There’s been talk of DAZN offering Wilder a three-fight $100 million deal to fight Joshua. That probably won’t get the fight done If this truly is the biggest fight in boxing, like Hearn says it is, then Wilder can make more money than that.
Joshua must look sensational against Ruiz Jr.
There’s a tremendous amount of pressure on Joshua to beat Ruiz Jr., and look out of this world good on Saturday in their fight on DAZN at Madison Square Garden in New York. Wilder, 33, crushed Dominic Breazeale last Saturday night with a first round knockout. That fight got a lot of attention for the Bronze Bomber with the way it ended.
Additionally, Wilder outdid Joshua’s seventh round knockout win over Breazeale from three years ago in 2016. Hearn looked lost in trying to make excuses for why it took Joshua a lot longer than Wilder to knockout Breazeale. Hearn said Joshua was sick, injured and still too young at the time to make quick work of Breazeale. It sounded to some boxing fans like Hearn was trying hard to make excuses for Joshua.
“So what AJ has to do on Saturday is put on a brilliant performance, and then it on him, and then just say, ‘I dare you to fight me,'” Hearn said. “What else do you want me to do? Tell me. Why shouldn’t it be? That’s the fight they should take next [Team Wilder]. That should be the fight we take next. Most importantly, Anthony Joshua has to beat Andy Ruiz, because Andy Ruiz is on another planet.”
“He’s so fearless. He doesn’t realize what’s about to happen on Saturday,” Hearn said about Ruiz. “He’s just excited. He’s got this little crew that he’s hanging around with, and they’re just loving life. I’ve seen it on social media, so he’s going to go and have some fun. He’s going to throw absolutely everything, and anything to try and beat Joshua. So we can’t talk about Wilder, because until he beats Ruiz, it’s all completely irrelevant,” Hearn said.
Eddie Hearn it bringing up a good point in talking about the importance of Joshua still needing to beat Ruiz Jr. Joshua, his fans and Hearn have gotten do distracted with talking up a unification fight with Wilder, that they’ve taken their eyes off the fight in front of them against Ruiz Jr. It’s less than respectful for Joshua and Hearn to be talking about Wilder right now with the Ruiz Jr. fight still needing to be won.
Joshua isn’t a good enough fighter to ignore a talented heavyweight like Ruiz Jr. If you take away Joshua’s recent mismatches against Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin and Carlos Takam, you’re left with his fight with Wladimir Klitschko. Despite winning, Joshua looked bad in that fight, and was fortunate that Wladimir ignored his trainer Johnathon Banks when he told him to finish a hurt and tired AJ off in the seventh.
Hearn: Fans must pressure Wilder to fight Joshua
Using the public to pressure Wilder has little chance of success, as we’ve seen in the past. Hearn is counting on the boxing public to do the work to get Wilder to come to the bargaining table to negotiate the Joshua fight. With the pressure from the fans, Wilder will fold, according to Hearn. It would be a lot better if Hearn at least waited until Joshua beat Ruiz Jr. on Saturday night before he started talking about the Wilder fight. This could blow up in Joshua’s face if he gets knocked out by Ruiz Jr. He’s only focusing on Joshua instead of planning his future fights.
“The fans have got to put the pressure on. They’ve got to come out and say the only fight we want to see next is Wilder,” said Hearn. “Deontay, give the fight fans what they all want. Make the fight. I dare you to fight me. I dare you do. Goad him. I don’t know what else to do. I’ve tried being nice. I’ve tried not being nice. Neither of them worked. So I’m thinking of leaving it now,” Hearn said.
“I don’t know what else you want me to do to make the fight. It’s the biggest fight in world boxing. It’s one of the biggest heavyweight fights of all time. It’s a fight where the entire world would stand still and watch.”
“It’s a massive moment for AJ. I never thought I’d be promoting a world heavyweight championship fight at Madison Square Garden. It’s so big for the fighters Josh Kelly, Callum Smith, Buatsi and Katie Taylor, and Tommy Coyle. Speak to them about fighting at Madison Square Garden. It’s a lifetime dream to be fighting on a card like this,” Hearn said.