Deontay Wilder’s advisor and co-manager Shelly Finkel has reacted in disbelief to WBN at what transpired on Tuesday with the WBA and Anthony Joshua.
Finkel, who is overseeing negotiations with Matchroom Boxing for a massive undisputed heavyweight unification between the two champions, has originally informed WBN that a contract would be sent back to promoter Eddie Hearn on Friday.
Just over twelve hours on from WBN putting out the news of a potential agreement this week, the World Boxing Association then give Joshua just 24 hours to agree a battle with mandatory Alexander Povetkin - or face losing his WBA title.
Reacting to what has been a surreal few hours for Wilder and his team, Finkel explained to WBN that it’s his view Joshua and Hearn had no intention of making the huge Pay-Per-View encounter a reality.
“The fact is they didn’t want this fight,” Finkel exclusively told World Boxing News.
“He asked for 50 million dollars, never thinking we’d come up with it. When we came up with it, he said’ I don’t want to fight in the United States, I’ll take it for less in the UK’.
“He sent us a bull*** offer thinking we’ll never take it...and we took it.
“Then they said, ‘what do we do now?’ Let’s send them a contract. Except, the contract doesn’t have when the fight will be or where it will be. But today I get a letter saying; ‘We’re not going to fight you next, but we’ll fight you the fight after that...and it will be April 13th at Wembley Stadium. So basically, he can tell me next year, but he can’t tell me a date for this year.”
Addressing ‘comments’ Hearn stated could have made a difference to ongoing talks, Finkel added: “I never said to Eddie Hearn I would be sending back comments, I wrote to him saying I’m sending back the contract. And he knows the contract would have been signed.
“That’s why today, and all of a sudden, the WBA have turned around and given 24 hours.”
The situation is an obvious disappointment to Finkel and the whole Wilder team, who believed Joshua would come through when he originally stated his desire to make the clash happen this year.
“Joshua said on TV ‘that I will fight him next’ – he’s not fighting us next. He also said; ‘I swear if he offers me $50m I’ll take the fight tomorrow’. Well, got him the $50m and he still didn’t take it,” pointed out Finkel.
“In fact, they send us an offer which is a flat-fee of $15m with a rematch clause, which we accepted, and then a date of September 15th at Wembley – which they knew was the date for Canelo. So, they never had the intention of doing it. How can you go the same day as Canelo?
“They are fighting Povetkin on a later date now so why couldn’t they offer that date to us?
“I asked them on Sunday what date and what venue and they wouldn’t tell us, because they never wanted to do this fight.”
“I know they can’t come out and say ‘we don’t want the fight, he dangerous’ - but they are saying they want it and then putting up every barrier they can to stop it,” he added.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay