The recent announcement of a two-fight Wembley deal for Anthony Joshua strongly suggests a Deontay Wilder undisputed saga would have been unable to take place back-to-back and may have been doomed from early on during talks.
Joshua confirmed a date double at the National venue on September 22 and April 13, leaving any hope of getting anything more than a one-fight Wilder agreement for 2018 out of bounds.
Wilder, who originally offered Joshua a massive $50m purse to travel to the United States, agreed to face his main divisional rival on English soil next provided the pair could agree to an immediate rematch across the Atlantic.
With Joshua ‘coming home’ to the venue of his famous win over Wladimir Klitschko, facing Wilder at home and then abroad would have been impossible to agree without a gap in-between.
‘AJ’ would have had to face Wilder before completing his obligation to Wembley in April and then pick up with the American later – which would not have been agreeable to ‘The Bronze Bomber’.
It’s not known whether the deal played a major or any part in the decision to offer Wilder a first fight date of April 13, nor whether Joshua could have been flexible with his rematch terms if negotiations had continued for a unification.
What is clear is that Joshua will be tied to London until the late summer of 2019, something which puts previous US debut and ‘world tour’ plans announced in 2017 firmly on hold for the time being.
The news also means Jarrell Miller’s hopes of being in the opposite corner have taken a significant blow. ‘Big Baby’ was being lined up to challenge Joshua if indeed he headed stateside for a lower profile affair.
A potential match-up in Nigeria is also off the cards until further notice as Alexander Povetkin prepares to seal his mandatory WBA and WBO shot at Joshua’s belts before another big UK event in the spring.
The winner of Dillian Whyte v Joseph Parker or Kubrat Pulev’s final eliminator set to take place in August or September may well be first in line for that date unless Wilder talks can be given the kiss of life before the WBC champ looks elsewhere.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay