Joshua is currently lined up to face old guard Wladimir Klitschko in April on 2017 but Hearn made a point of mentioning an ‘AJ’ fight to Wilder when the pair shared a room at the recent WBC 54th Convention.
Hearn told Sky Sports: “’It won’t be long,’ that’s what I said to him. He (Wilder) said: ‘I know, I know.’
“It’s a big fight, it’s a wonderful fight, and could be for four belts. Towards the end of the year, I don’t see why not, or certainly early in 2018.
“They are two young lions, two competitors, and I think it’s important they meet.
“Joshua will have between two or three fights a year now, so realistically it could be the back end of this year, or if not, early 2018.
“They are two young lions, two competitors, and I think it’s important they meet. I think their styles will make a great fight.”
Wilder is eyeing up a February return to action from serious injuries suffered in defeating Chris Arreola over the summer and was recently awarded the ‘Knockout of 2016’ award by the WBC for his previous win over Artur Szplika.
With Joshua expected to come through an aging Klitschko at Wembley Stadium, a massive US debut for the Briton against Showtime stablemate Wilder could soon be on the cards.