Despite stating he would fight Deontay Wilder for a guaranteed $50 million, Anthony Joshua has decided against an undisputed clash for all the heavyweight titles.
Wilder put his money where his mouth was after Joshua stated he’d ‘accept a deal tomorrow’ if $50m was on the table, although the Briton refused to fight the American across the Atlantic.
For the past two years, Joshua has been confirming his intentions to fight ‘all around the world’ in globetrotting exploits, but in reality, has never fought outside of the UK.
Offering Wilder a cut-price deal to face him at home hasn’t gone down well, as the WBC ruler sees Joshua as flat-out refusing to fight him and put all the belts in one basket.
A deal with Alexander Povetkin was seemingly on the cards from the time the WBA made the order, which will leave negotiations between the top division king and Wilder under pressure for the future.
Boxing has been denied a contest which would have been the biggest meaningful heavyweight clash since Lennox Lewis v Evander Holyfield as Showtime Pay-Per-View were already on board for a Las Vegas showdown until Joshua pulled the plug on the US.
A massive gate, coupled with PPV on both sides of the pond would have seen both men earn a lucrative eight-figure paycheck, something both fighters will now miss out on.
Stating judges and what-not would be a problem if he fought in the US is also questionable on Joshua’s part due to the fact 95% of pundits and fans didn’t think the fight would go the distance anyway.
The whole thing seems like Joshua and his team doing anything in their power to avoid a fight with Wilder at the present time, as ‘The Bronze Bomber’ continually states his desire for ‘one champion, one face’ to rule all.
WBN has it on good authority that Wilder had every intention of travelling to seal the UK deal after the US was flatly refused by Joshua, although were continually under the impression from World of Boxing (Povetkin’s promoters) that Matchroom were keener to negotiate with Povetkin instead.
This has left a sour taste in mouths as Joshua turns his back on a battle of the best two big men in favor of a meeting with a lesser dangerous Povetkin.
Povetkin being rocked by David Price was a clear sign that Joshua can do even better and why the Russian former WBA ‘regular’ champion was always a clear favorite for Joshua’s next outing.
Joshua will now be a massive favorite to defend his titles at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff this coming fall, whilst in stark contrast, a collision with Wilder would have set the world alight.
Talk of a bout in Russia can certainly be ruled out of the equation as if Joshua is worried about US judging he 100% won’t be willing to put his titles on the line in Russia.
The general consensus has been that Joshua is willing to face Wilder away from home and his team isn’t, although the Briton could easily make his intentions clear and do what every top heavyweight in history has done – fight in America.
Sadly, and solely due to Joshua’s side as WBN understands, it wasn’t meant to be this time around.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay