Deontay Wilder is set for a ring return this weekend where he will face a tough test in Robert Helenius. As he attempts to work his way back up to the top of the sport, talk of a potential match-up with a British rival has returned.
For a while, Wilder versus Anthony Joshua looked certain to be the fight that would crown an undisputed heavyweight champion – the first since Lennox Lewis. Both sides admit there was an attempt to make it happen when the two fighters were champions, but, as is common in boxing, negotiations came to nothing.
Since those failed attempts, Both Wilder and Joshua have lost their champion status. Wilder was between twice by Tyson Fury, and ‘AJ’ suffered the same fate to Oleksandr Usyk. Despite neither man holding a belt, the American is convinced that the bout remains the biggest in the sport. He told Kate Abdo that it’s certainly the most requested.
“As long as we’re still in the business of fighting, there’s always going to that opportunity right there. Because, true or not, every time I hear people they always [ask] me ‘when are you gonna fight Joshua?’ Right now, that’s the biggest fight in the world, between us. Still. Right now. That is the number one match up that everybody always asks me about. It just a matter of time, [not] if, when.”
Despite being open to it, Wilder insists that both men must have an empty calendar to make it happen. This follows claims that Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, had reached out to the American’s team in the lead up to ‘AJ’s rematch with Usyk, and then again recently before Wilder has faced Helenius.
“We’re not following along with Eddie’s games and stuff like that … When you come to us make sure it’s at the appropriate time and things like that – not what we have a fight already lined up, because I felt like it was for him to have insurance. I don’t think he believed Joshua was going to win that fight against Usyk. I just don’t believe it, and I think he was just trying to get something on paper to have insurance.”
Whilst Fury and Usyk might take exception to the idea that no fight could be bigger, what’s certain is that Wilder – Joshua is a fan-friendly match up and one that really should be made before either man hangs up the gloves.