Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn has responded to Deontay Wilder’s claims that he has signed an agreement to face Anthony Joshua in the U.K. – however, he refused to confirm whether or not the fight would take place next.
Hearn, who has been involved in very public, drawn-out negotiations with Wilder and his manager Shelly Finkel, told Sky Sports that a formal contract would be issued to Wilder by the end of the week, despite Joshua being deep in negotiations to face WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.
“It’s great that he’s come back to us.” said Hearn.
“We made this offer about four weeks ago and I don’t know if he’s come back because he’s heard we’re close to closing the Povetkin fight or whether he wants the fight, but either way he’s going to be getting a contract from us ASAP.”
“It’s obviously the fight we want. There is a lot of sorting out to do for this fight, but great news that in principle he seems to be on board for the idea of coming to the UK for the fight.”
“We’re going to be dealing with it and we’re going to be making sure he gets the relevant paperwork.”
After a protracted back-and-forth between the two camps, it would appear that Wilder and his representatives have budged on their initial stance and revealed on Monday evening that they have in fact agreed to Hearn’s terms for a bout to take place in the U.K.
With Joshua drawing huge numbers in his homeland, the early front-runner for the venue would appear to be London’s Wembley Stadium, the scene of Joshua’s 2017 ‘Fight of the Year’ contest against Wladimir Klitschko.
“We see this as a Wembley fight and we’re quite limited in that respect.” said Hearn.
“Obviously American TV and pay-per-view has to be considered. We’ve got to speak to them about what date suits them. There is a lot still to work out.”
“I think Wembley is where Anthony Joshua wants it to take place. Obviously a brilliant night against Wladimir Klitschko. It seems a natural home.”
Hearn would go on to reveal that some obstacles still remained in negotiations for the proposed undisputed heavyweight title bout, including securing a deal for the fight to be broadcast on US TV – with the rumoured rematch between Mexican superstar ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin expected to take place on September 15th, which would risk over-saturating the pay-per-view market.
He would also point to Wilder’s delayed response as a potential stumbling block – stating a “fight of this magnitude” would be “unlikely” to be made in “11 or 12 weeks”.
“Our original plan and hope was to do it in the middle of September, but obviously this ‘Canelo’ fight on September 15 makes it a little more difficult with US TV and the fact that we’ve lost four weeks in waiting for an answer from Deontay Wilder, makes the fight happening in 11 or 12 weeks of this magnitude unlikely. If it is before Povetkin, then it runs on October and November.”
Despite suggesting the bout would be unlikely to happen next, Hearn would go on to state that Wilder and his team would be presented with a contract by the end of the week. With negotiations finally showing some signs of real movement, any such deal – whether by the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019 – would be welcomed by boxing fans.
“We’ve got to get to the bottom of it all today. One thing I can tell you is by the end of this week, Deontay Wilder will have a contract in front of him and we’ll see if he’s real.”