Eddie Hearn has spoken out in response to rumours that Anthony Joshua may fight former WBC champion and notorious power-puncher, Deontay Wilder, next year.
Joshua and Wilder were in negotiations back in 2018 when they were both champions for an undisputed fight. Those talks ultimately collapsed and the two went their separate ways.
Since then, both men have lost their world titles – but the aura of a fight and how it would play out still remains. Both ‘AJ’ and Wilder are seen as the men who revived the heavyweight scene in their respective countries after a run of Eastern European dominance in the division.
In an interview with iFL TV, Hearn confirmed that he is now on good terms with Wilder’s team and cleared up any discussions of Wilder being Joshua’s next opponent.
“The communication lines are good now, between me and Shelly Finkel [Wilder’s manager]. We’ve had a lot of talks, a lot of chats [but] until the training team in confirmed for AJ, we really won’t make any opponent selection because we want the input of a trainer.
We’ve got three or four guys that we are talking to and ready to try and make a move for, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to make sure that the training team are comfortable with that.”
“[Wilder] has been ordered to fight Andy Ruiz … I’m guessing that is what he is going to do next. At the same time, we’d like Dillian Whyte to fight Deontay Wilder in the interim or AJ in the summer.
We will have to see but it looks like Wilder will fight Ruiz and AJ will fight at the end of March/April and Dillian Whyte may fight as well and I think they’re all going to come together in the summer.”
Whilst Joshua is set to return to the ring early next year – seemingly against neither Wilder or Whyte – he is confident that a fight with Wilder will “definitely happen” at one stage in 2023, The Mirror reports.
Should it be another opponent in the interim, there are a number of possibilities, with fighters ‘queuing up’ to fight the former two-time champion.