A fight between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder is seemingly teetering on the edge following ‘a movement’ in the driving forces behind boxing in Saudi Arabia.
The two former-champions have been in extensive talks for the best part of the year so far, with an initial date of December in the Kingdom then pushed back to January 2024 and now in doubt altogether.
It’s understood there’s still a chance for it to happen, and the WBC’s latest ranking update is a fresh incentive. Joshua has moved from third to second, one behind Wilder, who held the belt for five years before losing out to current champion, Tyson Fury.
Fury has not had a mandatory challenger since April of 2022 – Dillian Whyte KO win – and has been met with criticism for choosing to fight a crossover contest with Francis Ngannou this year rather than defend his title.
There’s fresh pressure on the WBC to call a mandatory for ‘The Gypsy King’, and it’s highly likely that that will be the winner of Joshua-Wilder, should it take place.
It’s not a final eliminator until the sanctioning body say so, but given the fact that there was a previous order made for Wilder to battle it out with former number two, Andy Ruiz Jr, for the mandatory spot, it’s highly likely.
Promoter Eddie Hearn previously told Boxing Social that he would rather Joshua not announced as mandatory because it affects their negotiating position with Fury in the future.
Either way, the transatlantic clash has to be made first, and Hearn may be in the tough position of looking for a different location. That then brings into question the money both men make, with the high Middle Eastern purses undoubtedly a driving factor in the talks up until now.
If the fight isn’t signed, it’s thought Joshua will take another fight in December.