FOR a glorious moment it seemed like sporting logic would prevail and the biggest fight in boxing would actually happen. But the peculiar logic unique to this business prevailed. Negotiations for Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder, to unify all four major titles and decide an undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, have failed. Boxing remains boxing and, as is so often the case, it’s own worst enemy. After months of discussions to make the fight the world wants to see, we are, perhaps, a step or two further along the path. But it’s been a long and winding road to get there.
Eddie Hearn, of Matchroom Boxing, Joshua’s promoter, and Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s manager, met to discuss the super-fight as far back as November of last year, when Joshua was ‘only’ the IBF and WBA heavyweight world champion. Joshua had another unification clash at the end of March, when he beat Joseph Parker to add the New Zealander’s WBO crown to his title haul. The first signs of frostiness between the two camps became manifest when Wilder declined to attend the fight week as a pundit.
After defeating Parker, asked for a message for Deontay Wilder, Joshua declared, “Let’s go!”