EDDIE HEARN is understandably bored of talking about Anthony Joshua v Deontay Wilder and, specifically, why they’re not fighting each other in September. Boxing News, too, is a little tired of the subject – if you missed it, catch up on the whole saga here – but we wanted some confirmation that the showdown the world wants to see is still what Hearn and co want to see. . .
Boxing News: Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin is a good fight, but it’s hard to shake the spectre of Deontay Wilder hanging over it…
Eddie Hearn: [Interrupting] Yes, but at the end of the day if we can’t box number two then we box number three. What more can you expect from Anthony Joshua? The level of opposition he’s facing is incredible. He could box anybody at Wembley Stadium and fill it. Look, Povetkin was his mandatory but he didn’t have to take that when you’re looking at a Wilder fight, he could have taken an easier fight [and relinquished his WBA title]. But he said, ‘No, no, Povetkin is a good fight, I want that fight.’
It’s amazing he had 40 amateur fights and 21 pro fights and still people will say, ‘When is he going to fight Wilder?’ He will fight Wilder, he will fight them all. Wilder, [Dillian] Whyte, [Luis] Ortiz, [Jarrell] Miller, it doesn’t matter to him.
How certain are you he will fight Wilder?
It’s up to Wilder. He agreed all the points that we put into the contract but they never came back to us on the contract. All we’ve done is sent them the same contract, with all the points they’ve already agreed to on the contract. It’s the same contract but just with a different date [April 13, 2019]. The terms they agreed still exist but let’s see what they do next because we know what we’re doing, and that’s this [Povetkin on September 22]. We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing, we’ve mapped out our future and it’s up to him if he still wants to be a part of it.
The cynical might say there’s a plan already place that doesn’t involve Wilder. Jarrell Miller made a nuisance of himself this week and if Dillian Whyte beats Joseph Parker and looks good doing so, it’s surely easier for you to make those fights than trying to make the Wilder bout?
My answer to that is I’d be a fool if I didn’t look at the landscape. I don’t know if the Wilder fight is going to happen, it’s purely up to Wilder. But what I can tell you is, I’m not going to sit back and wait on people. I’m going to get our plan in order as it always is for Anthony Joshua. The sole plan right now is Povetkin and Wilder, that’s all we’re interested in right now.
If Dillian Whyte looks great next week, he’s an absolute front runner if Wilder doesn’t accept the fight. Jarrell Miller, if he wins in October, is also in the mix but they’re not even close to what we want.
So don’t be fooled by people saying, ‘Hearn is talking up Joshua-Whyte’. Of course I am. It’s a potential fight down the road, and Joshua wants to fight for another 10 years, but that sole focus, right now, is Povetkin and Wilder. We’ve made one, and next hopefully we’ll make the Wilder fight.
Wilder will come round, he has nowhere to go, nowhere to go.
I can tell you like talking about this.
[Smiles] It is getting boring now. But it wasn’t too bad yesterday [Tuesday in America]. There was all this Miller stuff and it was the first time that they [American media] had access to Joshua. It was a bit like having Floyd Mayweather at a press conference.
Finally, can you pinpoint one reason why Joshua-Wilder isn’t happening next and, with that in mind, why we should have faith it will.
I think it was poor communication between a team of too many people. When you have three managers, how can that be easy? That’s one thing. Taking it further, Shelly Finkel has publicly come out and said the deal is rubbish – but Wilder accepted it – so if you think the deal is rubbish, how much do you want to push that through? If my fighter wanted to fight I’d be back to you in 24 hours banging the door down because that’s my job. If I was Deontay Wilder now, I’d be looking at his team saying, ‘Why didn’t you go back to them?’
Even if there was something in the contract they were unhappy with, why on Sunday do you send a message saying, ‘Yes we’ve got all the points on the contract, we’ll get back to you on Friday’. What’s all that about? Why not just send them tonight? People still can’t get their head around that but it doesn’t make sense.
Look, I’m sure we were making a few moves in-between but so they were they. They might say we completely played everything but we were negotiating, we were angling, we strategising, and so were they. Every single email he sent to me he sent it to the media.
The media out in America were saying to me, ‘You do know Shelly Finkel is non-existant in boxing. But now he’s sending emails to the media. He’s never done that.’
I think a lot of it was about raising Wilder’s profile, which they’ve done a great job of by the way. But if I was Deontay Wilder I’d be saying, ‘right, you’ve cost me $15m. What’s next?’ When they turn round and go, ‘We’ve got $3m to fight Breazeale,’ he’ll go, ‘Is that it?’
I’ll give him nearly double that to fight Breazeale if he wants. Let’s see what he does next.