WBA would have granted Wilder vs. Joshua exception, admits Eddie Hearn

Anthony Joshua Deontay Wilder Shelly Finkel

Lawrence Lustig / Ed Diller

Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn has confirmed the WBA exception situation WBN brought up with Deontay Wilder advisor Shelly Finkel this week would have meant a fight with Anthony Joshua could go ahead with a signed a contract.

On Tuesday, the day Joshua pulled out of negotiations to fight WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin, Finkel told WBN an exception request to WBA President Gilberto Mendoza was the Briton’s way of maintaining his title status.

Finkel had exclusively told World Boxing News: “The organizations recognize a unification over a mandatory.

“If you ask for an exception for a fight of this magnitude, I would highly doubt they would say no.

“So, if Anthony Joshua and Eddie Hearn wanted the fight, instead of saying the WBA is pressing him, he would be able to ask for an exception.

“Most likely, the WBA would have given it. This would not be an issue.

“The fact is, he’s never asked for an exception. Everyone knows it’s best for boxing to make this fight. But Joshua and his team are obviously not interested in what the fans want.

“Look at Gennady Golovkin, he said to the IBF, ‘I’m fighting Canelo, and that’s it.’ And that’s what Anthony Joshua should do.

“Ask for an exception. And if they say no – which they won’t, tell them you’ll take the fight anyway.”

Anthony Joshua Eddie Hearn
Lawrence Lustig


With confusion surrounding how the fight fell apart, Hearn cited the WBA’s request to complete a Joshua v Povetkin fight within 24 hours as the main reason.

This week, Hearn has admitted if he’d waited for the promised signed contract on Friday, the WBA situation would have been rendered irrelevant.

Hearn’s statement will cast more doubt on why the Wilder fight isn’t going ahead as previously planned by Joshua. And why the Povetkin fight hasn’t been announced despite a 24-hour deadline elapsing.

Wilder is raging with the outcome as he wholeheartedly wanted the fight. However, the American has since stated he believed the Povetkin encounter with Joshua was already agreed for several weeks beforehand.

A sad state of affairs.

Phil Jay is the Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay.