DON’T give up hope on the Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder heavyweight unification actually getting made, just yet.
While offers have flown from one side to the other, face-to-face meetings between the management teams in New York were cancelled last week. But on Wednesday Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, with a knowing smile, told Boxing News, “All I’m saying at the moment is talks are ongoing.”
“There’s still a long way to go but talks are ongoing and we’re positive and hopeful,” he noted.
These negotiations appeared to stall at an early stage. Wilder himself unusually and publicly offered Joshua $50 million for the fight. No further details were proffered and then Wilder’s management declined to meet with Eddie Hearn until he accepted the offer.
“People say I don’t want the fight. Of course I do. It’ $50 million! But it’s $50 million for what? He’s not going to just take the money and say, ‘Just let me know where you want me and I’ll be there.’ There are so many questions to ask. We’ve asked the important ones now and we’ll see where it goes. You shouldn’t have to accept a fight to see a contract or have questions answered or have a meeting. We are very interested should be enough. And we are very interested,” Hearn explained. “He’s taken it public. Which is probably the worst thing you can do. [AJ] likes everything done properly, behind closed doors, good business. We’ve worked with [Wladimir] Klitschko and [Bernd] Boente, we’ve worked with Duco. We’ve worked with Dillian Whyte, we’ve worked with [Carlos] Takam, we’ve worked with [Wilder advisor Al] Haymon before, doing the Charles Martin fight. We’ve never had one disruption. So we’re just going to do the same thing, which is work hard behind closed doors. If both guys want the fight and both teams want the fight, it will get made. They do. We all do.”
“We’re not looking to complicate it but there are things that affect our legal rights and there’s things that will affect our decision as to whether we take the fight. That’s the key here. We can’t accept it until we know,” he continued.
“I don’t make the fights – Anthony Joshua’s my boss. So do I think he should fight Wilder? Yes. Does he want to fight Wilder? Yes. When you’ve built to the level that we’ve built to with him … what if we say yes publicly, get the contract and it’s a load of b*******. We’d look stupid. We’d go: ‘We accept the deal.’ They’d come out and say, ‘Deal done in principle.’ Everyone goes, ‘Wow’ and it goes mad. Then you get a contract through that you can’t sign, then you’ve pulled out of the fight. So we’ve just got to be careful how we handle it.”
But he is optimistic that the talks can progress. “There are only half a dozen questions, they’re not that difficult to answer,” Hearn said. “But they will answer them this week. Then if it’s a positive response we can start talking about drafting contracts and stuff like that.
“I’m taking it out of the media with the right people and talks are ongoing.”