Anthony Joshua is set to agree a massive heavyweight collision with Deontay Wilder in 2018 but seems increasingly likely to be heading for a stateside debut against the American puncher.
Despite promoter Eddie Hearn’s attempts to take the bout to Wembley Stadium to give Joshua home advantage, Wilder’s $50 million offer will insist the undisputed clash is staged in the USA.
WBN also understands a summer fight is off the table as both sides aim for a date in November or December, with the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas the frontrunner and ideal venue as things currently stand.
Wembley was thought to be in the offing for a July or August encounter before a rematch in Nevada by the end of the year, although time constraints and money matters have put that option to bed.
This new timeline of several months will give promoters from Matchroom and Premier Boxing Champions, along with Pay-Per-View operators at Showtime, ample time to promote sales for what will be the biggest heavyweight contest held on US soil since Lennox Lewis v Vitali Klitschko back in 2003.
Gate receipts from what is expected to be a pricey event, coupled with a possible PPV price tag of around $50 is expected to help Team Wilder raise the minimum $50 million promised Joshua in the run-up to negotiations.
Extra revenue will then be added from worldwide sales and should still see Wilder walk away with an eight-figure sum with no questions asked.
It’s a calculated risk by Wilder in his bid to take all the title belts back to his homeland for the first time since Evander Holyfield reigned supreme following his double triumph over Mike Tyson in the late 1990’s.
Wilder is banking on adding Joshua’s four championships to his WBC version and becoming a household name in his native land and an immediate Pay-Per-View headliner into the bargain.
Showtime are already planning for the eventuality that the winner will then feature solely on the paid platform, with defences against Alexander Povetkin, Dominic Breazeale and Kubrat Pulev in the pipeline.
The imminent deal will be a blow to the United Kingdom market, which has dominated boxing’s big money deals in the top division of late and could see the USA wrestle control away should Joshua fail to overcome Wilder.
Effectively, everything is on the line for Joshua and his promoter Hearn, with Wilder having to defeat Joshua twice in succession in order to fully take the crown from the current heavyweight ruler.
Taking any rematch back to the UK in 2019 is also not a given, with Las Vegas the most lucrative option to stage back-to-back battles between the pair of KO artists.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay