Joshua v Wilder: Undisputed fight in jeopardy over US / UK venue

Joshua v Wilder 19/05/2018
Deontay Wilder Anthony Joshua

Lawrence Lustig / Ryan Hafey

A spanner has seemingly been thrown into the works of what was said to be an almost nailed on agreement for Anthony Joshua to travel to the United States for an undisputed clash with Deontay Wilder. 

Wilder’s guaranteed $50 million offer to Joshua meant both sides had to get serious at the back end of last month, and after weeks of behind the scenes haggling, it looked as though a Las Vegas showdown would happen.


Upon viewing recent social media activity, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is obviously not keen on the unified champion heading to the USA for the first meeting and wants to bring Wilder over to the United Kingdom for a stadium fight.

Staging Joshua v Wilder, potentially at Wembley, would be a massive statement for Hearn in his bid to keep the UK at the forefront of the most lucrative Pay-Per-View encounters on the planet.

Hearn is said to be open to the idea of Joshua eventually fighting Wilder in Las Vegas, but only AFTER the pair trade blows in Britain – in order to give his star man home advantage in his bid to become the undisputed king of the division.

Admitting the fight would make far more money on the gate in Nevada and with a huge promotional campaign for US PPV, Hearn is putting money to one side in order to allow the loyal UK fanbase first crack at witnessing history.

It’s hard to see Hearn being able to offer the same guarantees Shelly Finkel and Al Haymon laid down to Joshua, meaning the whole blueprint of the agreement may need to be altered moving forward.

Perhaps a trilogy of contests with the first on British soil and the second and third heading to America would appease Wilder and his representatives in this situation, although the goalposts have now firmly moved from when WBN reported the deal was closer than ever last week.

More is set to come to light in the coming days, with the end of May a critical cut-off point as the WBA and WBO expect a decision from Joshua over a potential fight with Alexander Povetkin.

Povetkin’s team met with Hearn in London recently to thrash out their next move, with Joshua, Jarrell Miller or perhaps Dillian Whyte in the Russian’s future plans for the summer – dependent on Wilder.

Should Joshua v Wilder collapse, there could then be a fallout from fans asking why the initial $50m wasn’t accepted, agreed and signed despite ‘AJ’ going public with his willingness to ‘take it tomorrow’ – if offered.