Deontay Wilder


Anthony Joshua could head straight into a showdown with Deontay Wilder if he fails to return to the ring in early 2023, says promoter Eddie Hearn.

The Brit has been forced to plot a route back to the top of the heavyweight division after he was beaten by Oleksandr Usyk for a second time back in August.

After losing his unified titles to Usyk last year, Joshua came up short in his attempt to reclaim them when they met again in Saudi Arabia, despite a much-improved display the second time around.

Many questioned whether he would retire on the back of two devastating defeats, yet AJ has no plans to throw in the towel and is instead on a redemption mission.

He was first thrown an unlikely bone by Tyson Fury in September, only for negotiations with the Gypsy King’s team to eventually hit a snag, and now talk has turned to a potential meeting with Wilder in 2023.

In an interview with DAZN, Hearn even claimed that Joshua could go straight into that mega-fight if he doesn’t take a tune-up bout early next year, as the American’s promoters have now entered talks over a potential deal.

Hearn said,‘I actually sent Shelly Finkel [Wilder’s promoter] an email back in August to talk about a deal and he actually replied to me yesterday.

‘I invited them out here to Abu Dhabi this week, they can’t come, but I see the Deontay Wilder fight probably being the second fight for Anthony Joshua in all honesty, but he’s up for fighting anyone.

‘If he waits, he may go straight into that fight, it all depends on when he returns, if he returns early in the year, he’ll fight someone else first and if not he’ll go straight into the [Dillian] Whyte or Wilder fight.’

Joshua and Wilder have been on a collision course for some time, with talks between their respective teams breaking down when they both held world titles in 2018.

Deontay Wilder to demand a ‘truckload of money’ to face Anthony Joshua in grudge match after spectacular KO of Helenius

DEONTAY WILDER will demand “truckloads of money” to face Anthony Joshua following his spectacular return to the ring.

The former long-reigning WBC heavyweight champion bounced back from consecutive stoppage defeats to Tyson Fury with a spectacular first-round knockout of Robert Helenius in New York last weekend.

Wilder’s demolition of Helenius sparked fresh calls for him to throw down with former two-time unified champion Joshua, a fight promoter Shelly Finkel believes will be made for the right amount of money.

He told Fight Hub TV: “A couple of months ago, Eddie Hearn sent us a letter, and we said the most important thing is Deontay training and doing what he did tonight.

“Now that he’s done it, we’ll see if Eddie will come with the truckloads of money he said and the Joshua deal that he said.

“We’re here. He knows how to reach us, so we’ll see. We’ll see if tonight changed his mind.”

Matchroom Boxing chief Hearn made overtures to book a showdown between Wilder and AJ ahead of the Brit’s defeat to Oleksandr Usyk in August.

Wilder and Joshua, 36 and 33 respectively, were on course to face one another in 2018 when the pair held all the heavyweight marbles.

But Wilder turned down a whopping three-fight undisputed deal worth close to £100million as he felt he was being lowballed.

The bad blood that remains between the pair has Bronze Bomber Wilder eager to settle the score before he hangs up his gloves.

He told The Good Fight: “Me and Joshua should have fought years ago, I could have been the undisputed champion.

“The chance isn’t gone, we are both still in the business of fighting so that opportunity will always be there.

“People still always stop me and ask when I’m fighting Joshua. Some people still think that’s the biggest fight in the world, between us two.

“It is the No1 match-up that people still always ask me about.

“It’s not a matter of ‘if’ the fight happens. It’s a matter of when, we just need the tight timing.”

Wilder, however, doesn’t plan on taking part in protracted negotiations to get his hands on AJ.

He added: “We will not fall in line with Eddie Hearn’s games? They drained us.

“We dealt with Eddie Hearn for around six months and they just gave us the round around.

“They have their story, which they tell everyone, but I know the facts and he is a big manipulator.”