Eddie Hearn: Deontay Wilder is DONE, no title shot against Joshua
By Tim Royner: Eddie Hearn says former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder won’t be getting a voluntary title shot against IFB/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua in 2021 if he loses his trilogy match against Tyson Fury.
Hearn is talking about not giving Wilder a chance to fight Joshua as a voluntary challenger. This means Deontay is going to be frozen out for a title shot against AJ, and that leaves the impression that Hearn is protecting his golden goose. The ONLY way Wilder gets a fight against Joshua now is if he beats Fury in their third match, and that doesn’t look likely.
Despite rumors, Hearn states that he’s not interested in entertaining into a step aside deal with Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) because he doesn’t want Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) to have to face him after he beats Fury in their clash for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
Is Hearn bitter about Wilder?
The way that Hearn talks of Wilder, one can sense that the Matchroom Boxing promoter harbors a bit of bitterness towards the American over the past failed negotiations. Hearn had wanted Wilder to fight Joshua two years ago, but his efforts at negotiating the fight failed miserably.
It’s not bitterness entirely. I think it’s likely more of a case of Hearn wanting to protect his investment Joshua from harm, and believe me, Wilder can do a lot of harm to AJ.
It’s quite possible that another reason why Hearn isn’t excited about Wilder getting a voluntary title shot against Joshua in 2021 is the danger that he would bring.
Wilder hits very hard, and Joshua lacks the chin and the defense to keep from getting nailed by him with clean shots. By Hearn freezing Wilder out for a fight against Joshua, he’s protecting his gravy train fighter to ensure the money keeps rolling in.
Wilder won’t get Joshua fight as voluntary challenger
“Yeah,” said Hearn to IFL TV when asked if Wilder has come out to say that he’s NOT stepping aside. “Bob Arum in an interview this weekend where he said, ‘I don’t know where these numbers come from. There are no discussions for him [Wilder] to step aside.’
“He said in interviews, ‘I’m not stepping aside.’ With everything that’s happening in terms of the uncertainty of the future of the world of boxing, he’s NOT going to want to step aside.
“We also don’t want to enter into a deal where we say, ‘When we beat Tyson Fury, we have to face Deontay Wilder.’ Deontay Wilder is out; he’s done. He’s just a voluntary challenger. So, we want a clean slate when we go into a deal. A one-fight deal with Tyson or a two-fight, but when AJ beats Tyson Fury, we don’t want an obligation to fight Deontay.
“What does he got to do with it? He’s done, he’s beaten. He just got knocked out. But if he beats Tyson Fury, then we [Joshua] want to fight Deontay Wilder, but if he doesn’t, then he’s just back in the rankings.
“He’s not coming into a fight with the undisputed champion [Joshua]. So in that respect, it’s a lot easier for us just to have a clean slate, and everybody is on the same page with us as well,” said Hearn in making it clear Wilder won’t get a title shot against Joshua.
If Fury beats Wilder in their trilogy match, then he’ll have effectively gotten the American out of Joshua’s hair. Hearn won’t need to worry about Wilder knocking out Joshua anymore, and he can focus on the light-hitting Fury as his main concern.
Hearn confident Joshua faces Fury x 2 in 2021
“What this has shown us is that you have to take opportunities when they’re there,” said Hearn to IFL TV about his desire to have Anthony Joshua facing Tyson Fury twice in 2021.
“I’m pretty sure that Tyson Fury is thinking, ‘I need to make sure I get these AJ fights because that’s the defining fight of my career. Financially, that’s going to set up many generations of my family.’ I know that from AJ’s side, he’s desperate to fight Tyson Fury.
“So, I think we know that Fury has to fight Wilder. We know that AJ is going to fight [Kubrat] Pulev. We know that Wilder won’t step aside, so there’s no point in discussing that fight [Joshua vs. Fury] this year. But we’ve got to just get those fights out of the way, and also start negotiations now and discussions.
“The discussions have begun. Everyone is on the same page to make those fights [Joshua-Fury x 2] for 2021 to make those two fights simple, and I’m really confident you’ll get it,” said Hearn.
It’s possible that Joshua and Fury will fight each other x 2 in 2021, but the pandemic might throw a wrench into the works. If this thing continues to cause illness in high numbers, then crowds won’t be allowed to attend fights, and we may not see Joshua vs. Fury fighting twice.
Joshua matches up much better with Fury than he does with Wilder due to the big 6’9″ fighter’s slower hands and weaker power than Deontay.
Hearn wants Joshua vs. Pulev ASAP
” Yes, absolutely, and there’s no rush now,” said Hearn when asked if Wilder, Joshua, and Fury will only fight once in 2020. “Before, it was, ‘We got to get the Joshua [vs. Pulev] fight in before the end of July so we can get another fight.
“Everyone has accepted now that Joshua will only fight once this year. So sometime between September and December, is when you’ll see AJ’s fight. I would like it sooner rather than later. He hasn’t boxed since December, and it’s never great to be out of the year, but he’s accepted that.
“So I would rather it be as early as possible rather than as late as possible. We’ve had five or six approaches from different countries to stage the [Joshua-Pulev] fight, and Croatia is one of them. It’s a great arena.
“We don’t close our doors to any opportunities. Our absolute plans from the start were to stage this fight [between Joshua and Pulev] in the UK, and we don’t know what the situation is in September, October, November, and December.
Are they going to start letting in 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, or 10,000 or maybe nothing at all? And if we can’t have any crowd, then it’s very unlikely we’ll have Joshua and Pulev in the UK,” said Hearn.
It’s for Joshua to get back into the ring as soon as possible to satisfy his IBF mandatory defense against Kubrat Pulev because he’s already been out of action for five months. If they schedule this fight for September, Joshua will have been out of action for nine months. That’s a long time for any heavyweight, but especially for a fighter that needs to stay sharp for him to be effective.
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