Anthony Joshua in ‘Da-Zone’, Deontay Wilder faces undisputed uncertainty
Tuesday’s streaming announcement in New York saw Anthony Joshua unveiled, belatedly, as the new face of DAZN in the United States.
A move that wasn’t on the cards before – transpired largely due to Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn failing to land significant marquee names to the platform.
Joshua has now been drafted in, leaving behind his solid base on Showtime, which was ultimately pushing him to potential Pay-Per-View status beginning with a fight against Deontay Wilder.
Promoter Hearn has put all his U.S eggs in the DAZN basket in his bid to crack America, and having Joshua on board was a must to make the brand stand out for their September launch.
It’s unclear how long Joshua’s deal with DAZN lasts and whether it’s a permanent fixture to stage the Briton off-PPV despite his potential pulling power as the unified champion of the world, leaving rival Deontay Wilder to contemplate his next move.
Despite Joshua stating the following when speaking to Sky Sports from the press gathering: “I’ve secured the date, the location and I’ve listened to all the issues they’ve found within the contract, I’ve gotten rid of them. I’ve added all the good points, and my side has been signed.
“All we need to do is wait for Wilder’s ink to dry, and the fight is locked in. I don’t need to wait another two or three months to hear any more issues. I’ve done that. I’ve been dealing with them for the last few months.
“We’re here now. I’ve signed my side. All we need now is for Wilder to sign his side, and the fight is locked in an official,” no contact has even been made with Wilder’s representatives to straighten those said outstanding differences.
The truth is, Joshua was facing the media and needed to keep his angle, whilst realistically several points need discussion, one of which is how an undisputed unification with Wilder fits into the DAZN world.
Wilder is being primed to feature on Showtime Pay-Per-View against Joshua, whilst DAZN would solely show the fight on their streaming service – which is not the option previously planned.
The DAZN deal has changed the fight’s whole landscape, putting a sort of Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis HBO versus Showtime angle into the mix but with a far more complicated outcome.
As Tyson and Lewis, like Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao later on, shared TV rights with their respective companies – it’s hard to see how Showtime PPV can work alongside a non-PPV streaming service.
Until this problem is solved, and Joshua agrees to move back to Showtime for at least one of two Wilder fights, fans will be left disappointed.
The only viable way the clash happens is with Joshua holding all the aces at Wembley and on DAZN, returning then handing control to Wilder, but only if he wins the first fight.
Once this is agreed upon between both parties, proper negotiations can then kick-off and possibly end up with the fight everybody wants.
So, where does Deontay Wilder go from here?
A fight with mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale certainly doesn’t cut the mustard at the moment, so gaining special dispensation to drop down to cruiserweight until 2019 could be the way to go.
Facing the winner of the forthcoming World Boxing Super Series for four versions of the 200-pound crown would be something special for the ‘Bronze Bomber’ to sink his teeth into after admitting over the summer he wants to become a two-weight world champion.
“What’s up, boxing world. You know I’ve just been sitting in my car thinking. Once I unify the heavyweight division, I’ve been thinking about moving down to the cruiserweight and taking over that division.
“There’s never been a heavyweight ever go down in weight. I mean, just for the fun of it, take over the cruiserweight division while maintaining the heavyweight division,” stated Wilder.
To become belt-laden at cruiserweight before tackling Joshua would be an unprecedented move for Wilder and give his career fresh meaning whilst the complicated details of a Joshua deal are worked out.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay