‘Powerless’ promoter in ‘career regret’ over Deontay Wilder vs AJ fight

Deontay Wilder

Esther Lin

Deontay Wilder facing Anthony Joshua in a blockbuster undisputed heavyweight title fight remains the biggest regret for one promoter involved.

Lou DiBella, part of the negotiating team for Wilder back in 2018, admits he was ‘powerless’ to stop negotiations hitting the skids.

World Boxing News was heavily involved in the workings of the deal at the time, having had a hotline to Wilder’s co-manager, Shelly Finkel, during the painstaking process.

As reported many times, Wilder’s team wanted the deal so desperately as they fully believed they had Joshua’s number.

Following a couple of defeats apiece, Deontay Wilder’s potential to win that encounter has only grown further in the consensus of public opinion.

DiBella opened up on his side of the involvement as Finkel took the lead alongside Stephen Espinoza. The pair attempted to secure Joshua for a United States Pay Per View.

They even stumped up the $50 million asking price the Briton laid down.

The undisputed battle for all the marbles would have been the first of its kind in almost two decades and saw SHO PPV promotion rival Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor the previous year.

As talks broke down repeatedly before Joshua got ordered to face Alexander Povetkin, Tyson Fury stepped in, and the rest is history.

Granted that the first event didn’t generate anything near what Showtime would have expected from Wilder vs. AJ, it did spawn one of the best heavyweight trilogies in a generation.

Opening up on his regret, DiBella believes that fight still carries legs to this day after Wilder’s trainer Malik Scott labeled it a ‘super-fight’ recently.

“I agree with Malik,” said DiBella. “I’ve always loved this fight as a boxing fan.

“I was always of the belief that this was the best match-up, mainly when they were both undefeated and arguably one and two in the division.

“It would have been huge then, and it would have set records.”

Anthony Joshua Deontay Wilder
Mark Robinson / Amanda Westcott

DEONTAY WILDER FAVORED

He continued: “I was powerless to make it happen. I tried. One of those career regrets I’ll carry.

“Back when I loved the AJ match for Deontay. I thought it favored him. It would bring the best out of both guys and by far the biggest money fight – by far!

“I still love the match-up.”

Wilder could now face former Joshua conqueror Andy Ruiz Jr. While AJ has a rematch with Oleksandr Usyk on his plate.

Substantial doubts remain on whether the fight will ever occur in the future.

The views expressed in this article are opinions of Phil Jay.

Phil Jay – Editor of World Boxing News since 2010 with over one billion views. Follow WBN on Twitter @WorldBoxingNews.