EXCLUSIVE: Deontay Wilder team react to AJ contract, withdraw previous

Anthony Joshua Deontay Wilder Shelly Finkel

Lawrence Lustig / Ed Diller

It wasn’t long after Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn put out the heavyweight king’s intentions to sign a contract handed to Deontay Wilder last month before a response came to WBN from Shelly Finkel.

Wilder’s co-manager and advisor scoffed at the offer to put pen to paper for a deal Finkel confirmed is now null and void due to Joshua’s decision to fight Alexander Povetkin.

Joshua will now have to start from scratch in his bid to land Wilder for an undisputed unification on April 13 at Wembley Stadium as ‘The Bronze Bomber will only work with promoter Hearn on new terms.

“We agreed to fight Anthony Joshua in his next fight in the U.K. for $15million flat. That is what we agreed to. We agreed to a flat fee so that we could fight him next,” Finkel exclusively told World Boxing News on Wednesday.

“What he is trying to do is what we call in the U.S. a bait and switch.

“Eddie Hearn sent a contract that he had no intention of honoring. He easily could have had September 22, 2018, and Wembley as the stadium in the agreement. He chose not to.

“The fact is, Anthony Joshua chose to fight Povetkin next. That’s his choice, so anything he sent us in that non-agreement is gone.”

On when negotiations could be pick up again, Finkel added: “I don’t understand his sudden rush to sign an agreement now for April. He has a fight in September against Povetkin.

“There’s no rush now, so he should concentrate on that,” said the New Yorker.


The reaction from Finkel and Wilder’s side should come as no surprise as the WBC champion already told Hearn and Joshua he wanted a 50-50 deal after retracting his acknowledgment of a $15m purse.

Some wiggle-room may be forthcoming from Wilder on the split-side, but both title-holders now have ample time to see where talks would go from here.

As Joshua prepares for his mandatory against the veteran Russian, Wilder has a stipulation of his own with the WBC as Dominic Breazeale, a former ‘AJ’ opponent, is next in line.

That fight is due to take place by the end of the year. With fans keeping their fingers crossed, Wilder and Joshua will reignite a possible $100m two-fight deal in the UK next April – with a rematch in the United States by the fall.

Phil Jay is the Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America since 2018. And a member of the Sports Journalists’ Association. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.