By Charles Brun: Fresh off his win over IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. on Saturday night, Anthony Joshua says he “definitely” would like to face WBC champion Deontay Wilder in an undisputed fight if the match presented itself to him. However, he says “chasing” the fight with Wilder didn’t work with him in the past.
Joshua open to Wilder unification fight
“I would definitely,” said Joshua at the post-fight news conference when asked if he wants a unification fight against Deontay Wilder. “I would love to. It’s hard, and it’s difficult to keep them and unite them. I’m sure PBC were desperately rooting for Andy to win, but we came and put a little spanner in their works.
“We’ll see what happens. I realized that chasing that fight wasn’t to my benefit. When the opportunity presents itself to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, you know me. I’ll definitely step up, and take that challenge,” said Joshua.
Deontay said recently that he wanted Andy Ruiz to win the fight with Joshua, because he’s with the same management at Premier Boxing Champions. He felt that it would be easier to negotiate the fight with Ruiz than it would in dealing with Joshua’s promoters at Matchroom Boxing, who he’s been unable to negotiate with in the past.
Wilder has attempted to get fights against Joshua in the past, but the negotiations have gone nowhere. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has talked of Wilder only deserving a flat fee. When Hearn finally did change his tune in offering Wilder a better deal, so much time had slipped by. It was a match that could have taken place a long time ago, but Hearn wasted time. Tonight’s win by Joshua could further make negotiations with Wilder more difficult if Hearn insists that he should get a bigger split.
Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) beat Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision to recapture his 3 heavyweight titles in Saudi Arabia. It was a good performance by the trimmed down 237 lb Joshua in outboxing an overweight 283 lb Ruiz in a dominating performance at the Diriyah Arena, in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Joshua has Usyk and Pulev mandatory defenses due
“I’ll let them make the decision, because chasing sometimes leads you into certain traps,” said Joshua when asked if he’ll fight Wilder or Fury. “So I’ll stay focused, say on my own path, and if the opportunity presents itself, I’ll go through that door. But I’m not going to chase anything with my blinkers on. Right now, it’s about waiting for the next opportunity.
“It’s going to be a tough road to stay on top. The heavyweight division is getting better, and I want to keep improving myself.
“Once they get on with their fight, they’ll have a bit more of a clue what they want to do with their careers, and if we’re in their plans, then they know where to find us,” said Joshua when asked if he wants to fight Wilder or Tyson Fury.
“We’re taking on all challenges. We boxed our way through round by round. Maybe my mandatory’s. I’m going to have to fight my mandatory’s,” said Joshua when asked who he wants to fight next. That’s Pulev or Usyk. “The main thing is I got the win, and I’m the heavyweight champion of the world. It means a lot more than it did the first time,” said Joshua.
If Joshua can get passed Usyk and Pulev, then the Wilder vs. Fury 2 rematch winner could be an option for him.