Promoter Eddie Hearn met with representatives of Deontay Wilder on Thursday and agreed to make a blockbuster fight between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder.
Since Wilder’s crunching win over Bermane Stiverne, the whole of boxing has been ready to witness a fight with Joshua, and Hearn – along with Shelly Finkel and Al Haymon, are also keen to make it happen.
“We’re all optimistic,” Hearn told Sky Sports News. “It was positive and now we move forward.
“We look at the venues, crunch the numbers and get to the nitty-gritty of negotiations, which will be over the next couple of weeks.
“I think there’s a willingness from both camps to do it next. We also talked about waiting until summer.
“There are lots of different permutations right now, different venue options as well, talk of one fight in America and one in the UK. But also the understanding that this is a huge fight and one we must get made in 2018.
“It will be the most talked-about event the world over – 59-0 with 58 KOs between them. We’re all excited because we love boxing.
“We want to make the big fights but also make great business; we have to do what’s right for our clients. But Joshua wants this fight bad and so does Wilder.
“Fingers crossed the next couple of weeks play out well, we have a good Christmas, and hopefully a nice present for fight fans in 2018.”
The likeliness moving forward is that Joshua will challenge WBO title holder Joseph Parker or face Jarrell Miller in the spring before meeting Wilder at a UK stadium or in Las Vegas by the second half of 2018.
Wilder would then be free to warm up against compatriot Dominic Breazeale or ex-Joshua foe Dillian Whyte, leading into the biggest top division battle since Mike Tyson fought Lennox Lewis way back in 2002.