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Wilder discusses passing up on Joshua fight

Anthony Joshua Deontay Wilder Andy Ruiz Jr Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr


By Jeff Aranow: Deontay Wilder says he understands why so many people are upset that he chose fight Luis Ortiz next instead of setting up a unification match against Anthony Joshua. However, Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) feels that the fans will still want to watch his rematch with Ortiz anyway even though he’s not the guy they want to see him fighting next.

The Joshua vs. Wilder fight will only get bigger as time goes by, as the interest is growing with each fight. It helps immensely that Wilder is putting on so many incredible performances. In the fights that he struggled with against Tyson Fury and Ortiz, they were still exciting, drama-filled matches. The 6’7″ Deontay was hurt against both of those fighters, but he still found a way to win.


“The ones who hate this, I understand that because they want Wilder-Joshua,” Wilder said to the latimes.com. “Everyone is impatient. They want what they want, but knowing I am the most exciting heavyweight in the world, you’ll still watch the [Ortiz] fight, no matter what, because I bring the drama and the pain.”

Wilder is correct. The fans won’t like seeing him fight the 40-year-old Ortiz again rather than facing unbeaten IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua, but they’ll still watch it.

Fans want to see Wilder fight against anybody

It’s gotten to the point in Wilder’s career where the fans want to see him in the ring against anyone. One can argue that Wilder is the most exciting heavyweight champion the U.S has had in many years. Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes didn’t bring the same drama to their fights that Wilder does. The reason for that is those guys largely dominated their opposition during their run as heavyweight champions. There were very competitive fights when those fighters help world titles.

In contrast, Wilder is sometimes hurt, and looks like he’s on the verge of being beaten. That makes him more interesting to watch. The last American heavyweight world champion that brought the same kind of drama at times to his fights was a young George Foreman, but he didn’t hold onto his title for very long before he dethroned by Ali. The young Foreman was exciting in the same way as Wilder is now. Foreman’s fights against Ron Lyle, Ken Norton, Jimmy Young and Joe Frazier were interesting to watch.

Wilder reacts to Joshua and Hearn’s comments about wanting to have face-to-face meeting to negotiate fight

“What have they done thus far to be believable?” Wilder said about Joshua and Hearn. “I’ve tried to do it privately with some mutual friends. [Joshua] didn’t want to do it without someone there with him on a FaceTime conversation. Why would you want to do that? It’s me and you. Are you scared of me or something? This whole thing of, ‘We’ve got to sit down.’…I’m not chasing nobody no more. The shoe’s on the other foot. I know the fight’s going to happen eventually, but it’s good to see them begging.”


This is a a risky game that Joshua and Wilder are playing in letting their unification fight get delayed. Eventually one or both of them are going to lose to somebody. Once that happens, it’s going to take away some of the huge interest that’s there for a fight between them. A lot of boxing fans believe that the 29-year-old Joshua has less chance of losing, because Hearn is matching him against weaker opposition than the fighters that Wilder is face.

Hearn had the chance many times to put Joshua in with southpaw Luis Ortiz, but he wouldn’t do it. Hearn’s ham-handed approach to negotiating the Joshua vs. Fury fight has resulted in it not being made. Hearn has hardened Fury’s of wanting a fair deal by talking to the media about what he feels he brings to the table. The boxing public took the news of Wilder signing for rematch against Ortiz and Fury surprisingly well. Yeah, there was anger on the part of many people, but not as much as one would think.

The reason for that is Ortiz and Fury are both quality fighters. There’s nothing wrong with Wilder fighting them. When you compare those type of guys to the fighters that Joshua is facing nowadays, Wilder comes out looking great. Joshua is facing the chubby heavyweight Andy Ruiz Jr. tonight on DAZN at Madison Square Garden in New York. Ruiz Jr. has lost in the past to Joseph Parker, one of Joshua’s victims. Joshua defeated 40-year-old undersized heavyweight Alexander Povetkin last September. Joshua has also fought these guys in the last two years: Carlos Takam, Parker, Wladimir Klitschko [40-years-old], and Eric Molina. Wladimir was an excellent fighter during his prime, but by the time Joshua fought him, he old, inactive and coming off of a loss to Fury. Wladimir was just a shadow of the fighter that he once was, and yet he still almost beat Joshua.

Wilder: Joshua would have happened if not for Matchroom

Matchroom Boxing has caused the Joshua-Wilder fight to be delayed, according to Wilder. He says the fight would have happened already if not for them. Wilder doesn’t elaborate what Matchroom has done in the past to keep the undisputed heavyweight clash from taking place, but it’s likely Hearn’s reluctance to give Wilder the 50-50 split that he was asking for. Hearn has made Wilder flat fee offers, and made it clear that he didn’t feel that he deserved even a percentage deal. Hearn would point out what Wilder’s purses were, and use that as justification not to offer him the split that he wanted for the Joshua fight.

“Without [Matchroom], this fight would be done a long time ago,” Wilder said. “He can say all he wants. They still have a say-so on him. So why sit and talk with him? He’s not on my level.”

If Joshua wants the fight with Wilder in 2020, he’s going to need to give him the 50-50 deal that he wants. Things have changed a lot. The days of Hearn of making flat fee offers to Wilder are over. Hearn could have made the fight with Wilder a long time ago, and gotten Joshua a great but he blew it.

Wilder says DAZN chairman John Skipper and his co-manager Shelly Finkel are the guys that will get the Joshua fight made when the time comes. Wilder says a lot of his doubters, who think Joshua will beat him, are going to look like “fools” after he knocks him out. Deontay is eagerly looking forward to knocking out Joshua in the near future. The fight could get made as early as 2020.

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