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Anthony Joshua could wait until Deontay Wilder in January – Eddie Hearn

Image: Anthony Joshua could wait until Deontay Wilder in January - Eddie Hearn

By Jake Tiernan: Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua is willing to wait until January if it takes that long for the Deontay Wilder to happen, but if it’s delayed further until February or March, he’ll take a fight in between to stay sharp.

According to Hearn, the process has been slow because there’s a huge amount of money involved, $50-60 million, and it has to be signed off.

The one that could be affected more if the fight is delayed until February or March is the former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs), who hadn’t fought since last October when he knocked out Robert Helenius in the first round.

Of course, with Wilder’s power, hand speed, and Joshua’s timid fighting style, it might not matter that Deontay is ring-rusty. One big hand from Wilder on AJ’s fragile chin might be all that is needed for victory.

Hearn says there’s still a possibility that the undisputed heavyweight clash between Tyson Fury & Oleksandr Usyk could be included on the Joshua-Wilder card. That would be one way for the Saudis to ensure the card is a huge success.

On its own, the Fury-Usyk fight might not do significant numbers because Fury’s popularity has nosedived in the last two years due to inactivity, weak opposition, and his failure to negotiate fights with Usyk & AJ.

Joshua wants to fight in December or January

“AJ-Wilder, is that done already or pretty much done and not too many hoops you’ve got to jump through? Is that the case? Are we going to be announcing that quite possibly?” said Akin Reyes to DAZN Boxing about the progress on the Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder mega-fight in Saudi Arabia.

“These things take time, but again in London today, there are meetings about that fight,” said Eddie Hearn on the Joshua-Wilder talks.

“Everything’s kind of agreed other than signing of the paperwork. We know that takes time, especially in that part of the world. For me, my biggest concern is AJ wants to fight in December or January.”

Joshua has fought twice this year, beating Jermaine Franklin & Robert Helenius. He had been scheduled to fight Dillian Whyte, but he tested positive for a banned substance.

Hearn feels that Joshua has shown improvement since teaming up with new trainer Derrick James,  but it’s hard to prove whether he has because his opposition hasn’t been cutting edge.

“We know the Wilder fights not going to happen in December, so we’re happy to wait until January, but if that fight starts being pushed back to February or March, don’t be surprised to see AJ still sign for that fight but have another one in between,” said Hearn.

“You sound a bit disappointed, like things are not moving as fast as you expected,” said Reyes.

Huge money must be signed off

“Yeah, we want that. I’m not disappointed, but at the same time, we want to get it done. That’s what everybody wants, myself, AJ, 258, everybody wants to fight Deontay Wilder,” said Hearn.

“Without getting too technical, Eddie. What makes it take so long if both parties [want it]?” said Reyes.

“A huge amount of money has to be signed off. It’s not just as easy as ‘I can’t believe it. What’s the hold-up? Just give him the 50-60 million, whatever it is, and away we go,'” said Hearn.

“What I’m saying is that if the fighters and the site agree on everything, then,” said Reyes.

“You have to go through a process. These kinds of things, they have to go through a process of approval. You’re talking about a huge amount of money,” said Hearn for the Joshua vs. Wilder fight.

It would be a shame if Joshua has nothing to show for the many months he’s been negotiating with Wilder. These two have been trying to set up a fight since 2018, and there’s always something that gets in the way

“Don’t get me wrong. I think the conversations now will also extend to Usyk and Fury,” said Hearn. “I think there may be a revisit of both of these fights on the same card. Who knows?

“So there are a lot of conversations to be had. All I can tell you is I truly believe, having spoken to Shelly Finkel and those guys, that Wilder is up for and ready for this fight also. So from the fighter’s point of view, we’re in a good place. Let’s just tie up the paperwork and the funds and try and get it over the line,” said Hearn.

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