Anthony Joshua talks all things Deontay Wilder, says unification is ‘100% a priority’ for 2018

It’s the heavyweight unitication everyone wants to see and Joshua believes the encounter is highly possible for the coming year.

Here’s a summary of what was asked, along with Joshua’s replies

On his thoughts about some point fighting in the U.S.:

“I’m excited. I’m very excited. I would love to fight the great champions that the United States has produced. At the same time, I’ll fight anywhere. I’m fine staying in the UK, but America’s definitely at the top of the pyramid for sure. The thing is, before I wanted to go out there for the experience but now I want to go out there and make me some money. For what fight, that’s what’s going to be interesting.”

On if he foresees a showdown with Deontay Wilder in 2018:

“Anytime. I think so. I think he’s what the division needs and I think this is what Wilder needs, so we’ll give it to them. I say it’s definitely a potential for 2018. What else am I going to do in 2018 provided that I don’t have any mandatories? I’ll be a free agent. If dealt with right with Eddie Hearn and the U.S., I think it could be built to be something just like the Klitschko fight. It should be better.”

On if he foresees the Wilder fight being in the U.S.:

“I think so. I could tell you a million things but the reason I’m saying that is because I do have some real professional people in the background advising me as well. I can see it happening in the U.S. If you came to Wembley on April 29, you saw what that was like. It was phenomenal. That was really good. So do we want to create that again or should we go overseas and do something new? It’s good to have options.”

On his reaction to Deontay Wilder claiming nobody wants to fight him after Luis Ortiz pulled out:

“[Laughing] When I heard Pulev pulled out, I was going to do the same thing. I thought that’s what the champions are doing these days. I find it funny. It’s like Twitter fingers now. Like doing your business behind closed doors. Ortiz failed a drug test, so be it, move onto the next one. Ortiz comes off his ban and you box him then. No need to cry about it and say that nobody wants to fight you. Of course we want to fight you, you’re the champion. You’re the hunted. He just needs to start thinking that way and stop feeling sorry for himself. Just keep quiet and don’t show any weakness in this game. This is heavyweight boxing. This ain’t featherweight boxing.”

On why he thinks Deontay Wilder needs a potential heavyweight showdown more than he does:

“I fought Jason Gavern in maybe my 12th fight. Deontay Wilder is fighting in his 34th fight maybe his 35th fight. Where I’m coming from is that in a career, it’s all good going undefeated and looking good. But when it’s all said and done, how are people going to remember you? He hasn’t had any memorable fights. He needs a real remarkable fight to stamp his name in the history books of heavyweight boxing. He needs that more right now. Especially being in America. This is the mecca of boxing. I even need it. I need Wilder to have a remarkable fight. I need to be the one that steps up to make this dream a reality. I would be honored to go out there and compete with Wilder.”

On if there’s a timetable to unify the title and if so does Deontay Wilder need to have a great fight to build the hype:

“There’s no time scale. You kind of just roll with the punches. We were fighting for the British title and then the Charles Martin opportunity presented itself. Then the Klitschko fight presented itself. And now we have a mandatory and you have to take that so we’re rolling with the punches, but there’s opportunities above him in the background. Deontay Wilder doesn’t need a better performance to compete. He’s a heavyweight, he’s a champion. He’s winning and that speaks enough. We have to give credit where credit is due so if that’s the case, that will definitely be respected for sure.”

On if Deontay Wilder is a priority:

“That guy’s been a professional since 2009. I started boxing in 2008. He’s been a professional a year longer than I’ve been boxing my whole career. He needs these fights. It’s a different ballgame. The only thing that’s given me credibility is the fact that I’ve gone and unified the division. He doesn’t need to have a remarkable performance or fight any household name because he’s been doing this for so long.

“I think the reason why he’s more desperate is because boxing writers have called him out. Who’s the next person on the list? Attach your name to the best brand in the business and people will listen so he’s just calling me out because he knows I’m the hot take in the business right now. He’s just doing what any businessman would do. I look at my situation and say after this Takam situation, what does the WBA say about a mandatory situation? Only God knows what could happen with my situation. I always look at it from a realistic point of view.

“I’ll fight Wilder next year and make it a priority 100 percent. There’s no doubt about that. But I’m going to be real and say these are the reasons why he’s probably doing what he’s doing. It could potentially happen but maybe not the next fight I have because of certain mandatories. Or do I just say I’m going to give up my belt because it’s what he wants or what I want? We have to make a careful decision in the making of this fight.”