Joshua wants face-to-face meeting with Wilder to negotiate fight
By Scott Gilfoid: IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is already planning on attempting a face to face meeting with WBC champion Deontay Wilder following this Saturday’s title defense against Andy Ruiz Jr, live on DAZN. Joshua wants to negotiate the fight with Wilder himself. Presumably, Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) has a figure in mind in what he feels the unbeaten Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) is worth in a unification fight with him.
The days of throwing flat fee offers at Wilder are long past, and it might be a waste of time for AJ to meet with him.
Joshua, 29, seems to think that he’ll have success at negotiating with the 6’7″ Deontay where his own promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing has failed in the past.
“Saturday night, win and look good,”Joshua said to skysports.com. “Straight to Wilder…they should sit us down face to face and talk about what the issues are man to man and get this fight sorted this year.”
Joshua has business to take care of with Ruiz
First things first, Joshua must beat the highly motivated Ruiz Jr. (32-1, 21 KOs) on Saturday night in their fight on DAZN and Sky Box Office at Madison Square Garden in New York. Joshua is so busy talking about the Wilder unification fight that he’s forgotten all about the formidable mountain that stands in front of him.
Joshua will need his best game to turn back the threat of the American Ruiz Jr., who is looking to upset the apple cart on Saturday. For Ruiz Jr., this is his Super Bowl in facing Joshua. AJ might not realize that, and he could be walking into a war zone Saturday night. As a result, we could see Joshua tasting defeat for the first time in his career if he goes into the Ruiz Jr. fight distracted about the glory of facing Wilder.
Wilder upstaged Joshua with his first round knockout win over Dominic Breazeale on May 18. Breazeale, 33, is the same fighter that Joshua had to labor for seven rounds to beat in 2016. Wilder finished off Breazeale with a single right hand to the head at the Barclays Center in New York, showing that he should be considered the #1 heavyweight on the planet.
Wilder ambivalent about fighting Joshua in 2019
The ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder says he doesn’t expect the unification fight with Joshua to happen this year, but it’s possible that it could. Wilder feels that it most likely won’t take place in 2019, but he’s not willing to close the door entirely to it. What this means is Wilder could potentially take the fight with Joshua if he’s given an offer he can’t refuse. As such, we’re talking about a 50-50 split, for starters. Whatever other perks Team Joshua can give Wilder would obviously help get the fight negotiated.
The American heavyweight Ruiz Jr. has replaced Joshua’s originally scheduled opponent Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller after the New Yorker tested positive for three banned substances.
Joshua has changed his tune about Wilder
A little over a year ago, Wilder wasn’t even allowed into the same ring with Joshua when he wanted to enter the ring with him after his fight with former WBO champion Joseph Parker. That was a wasted opportunity for Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. When you tell a world champion like Wilder that you don’t want him in the ring, that suggests that there’s no interest on your part in making the fight with him. As a result, it’s not all that surprising that the Joshua vs. Wilder fight still hasn’t happened.
Besides not being allowed into the ring with Joshua, Wilder was offered flat fees instead of a percentage deal for the fight. Hearn didn’t feel that Wilder brought enough to the table to be given a percentage deal, even though Parker was given one. In total, it was painfully obvious that Joshua and Hearn wanted no part in making the fight with Wilder. Actions speak louder than words.
Is Joshua using Wilder’s name to increase interest in Ruiz Jr. fight?
It’s interesting that Joshua and his clever promoter Hearn have seemingly increased the talk of wanting the Wilder fight this week. Of all the weeks to start talking up a fight with Wilder, why chose this one? Of course, this is supposed to be Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. show on Saturday. Why the sudden focus by Joshua and Hearn on Wilder? The reason is simple, one can argue. By name dropping the highly popular American Wilder’s name nonstop this week, it’ll draw more U.S boxing fans into wanting to subscribe to DAZN to see the Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. fight on Saturday night. It’s a clever strategy by Team Joshua if that’s what they’re doing.
Ruiz Jr. is in the perfect position to pull off the upset on Saturday, and walk out of the ring with three straps. Joshua’s mind is clearly on Wilder, and not on the task at hand in facing a motivated Ruiz Jr. It’s a royal mistake on Joshua’s part, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Joshua won’t be the first fighter that has lost a fight while looking over his shoulder, will he?