Deontay Wilder’s co-manager Shelly Finkel has responded to a threat by Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn to steer Anthony Joshua in a different direction for April 2019.
Hearn wants Wilder to agree a contract of $15m for Wilder to face Joshua at Wembley Stadium but stated recently that the heavyweight king won’t wait around for a signature.
Instead, Hearn plans to pit Joshua against old foe Dillian Whyte – should he come through Joseph Parker later this month – despite the fact ‘The Bodysnatcher’ was stopped in seven rounds by ‘AJ’ previously.
Whilst questioning the desire of British fans to go over old ground with an opponent who potentially would be soundly beaten again by a more experienced Joshua, Finkel said Wilder would need improved terms to even come to the table for the undisputed unification after feeling as though he was used by Hearn in negotiations the first time around with no intention of making the fight.
“On Thursday, Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn stated that if Deontay Wilder doesn’t sign a contract for a proposed April 13, 2019 fight containing the same terms as the ill-fated September 2018 fight with Anthony Joshua, then Joshua would fight Dillian Whyte on that date instead,” Finkel exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I can’t stop Joshua from fighting Povetkin, nor can I stop him from fighting Whyte (who is another Matchroom fighter that Joshua already knocked out.) I am sure that this rematch is something all Anthony Joshua’s loyal fans are clamoring for.
“For the record, and let me be crystal clear, Deontay wants to desperately fight Anthony Joshua but he will not be signing a contract to fight Joshua on April 13, 2019 for the below-market terms he was willing to fight him for in September 2018. That ship has sailed. Even Joshua himself in a recent video admitted that the economic terms to Wilder should be higher.
“If Joshua’s team is serious about a fight with Wilder on April 13, 2019 at Wembley Stadium we are open to discuss that.
“When Joshua’s team is serious about making a fight for Joshua, they know how to make that fight happen. This is clearly not the way,” he added.
Finkel’s criticism of Hearn, not for the first time – will have supporters on both sides of the Atlantic worried a further delay to the clash is on the horizon as Joshua has a plethora of options in front of him.
The winner of Whyte v Parker seems to be the number one target for Hearn, whilst Kubrat Pulev faces either Hughie Fury or the next contender in line for the IBF mandatory spot later this year.
Both would be attractive to Hearn as alternatives to Wilder in the spring as the world of boxing attempts to keep the faith that that sense eventually prevails.
Joshua’s two-fight deal with Wembley Stadium, beginning with Povetkin in September, put to bed any chances of a UK/US deal stipulated by Wilder and his team – with the second of those seemingly the ideal time to come to an agreement.
Facing each other at Wembley on April 13 with a Las Vegas rematch in October or November (on reversed terms should Wilder win) would certainly be closer to where the American wants to be and possibly only a fractional improvement on the original terms offered would make all the difference in negotiations.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay