Deontay Wilder has his next two fights lined up ahead of a massive Pay Per View in Las Vegas next year.
As WBN confirmed, Wilder turned down an offer to meet with Anthony Joshua in Abu Dhabi this week as a fight with Andy Ruiz Jr. draws closer.
Wilder vs Ruiz Jr. is on the cards for the first quarter of 2023 in the world’s boxing capital.
A date of March 18 is already booked at the MGM Grand Garden Arena by Premier Boxing Champions and Tom Brown Sports. It’s thought the hold got tentatively reserved for the massive heavyweight event.
May 6 could also be a consideration for Wilder vs Ruiz with the news Canelo Alvarez may not return on Cinco de Mayo weekend.
So WBN got a surprise to read that promoter Eddie Hearn was hoping to land a Wilder fight for his mount Joshua in the first half of next year.
Deontay Wilder plan
There’s no way Al Haymon will give up his plan with the World Boxing Council, which has been in motion for over 18 months.
Haymon and WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman agreed to a four-fighter tournament to crown the next WBC heavyweight title mandatory challenger to Tyson Fury.
If Wilder went anywhere near Joshua, he’d have undone a year and a half of work by Haymon and his PBC team. Ruiz has one fight left with the promotional company and will be Ruiz after he out-pointed Luis Ortiz.
Anything Hearn states regarding a possible Wilder vs Joshua fight in the first six months of 2023 is a mere pipedream.
Winner of Fury vs Usyk
Wilder won’t be available until at least August for his second outing in 2023. And dependent on the date for the Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk undisputed battle next year, it could be for all the belts against the winner.
As WBN also reported, Joe Joyce is not guaranteed a shot at the WBO belt as the number one. Therefore, the eventual undisputed champion will be able to secure the most lucrative option.
That will be Wilder if he manages to defeat Ruiz in Nevada.
Therefore, Deontay Wilder has two fights ready to go, culminating in an undisputed world championship chance. So facing AJ in a non-title bout seems a million miles away.
Joshua vs Wilder
Discussing his plan for Joshua, the Matchroom Boxing boss admitted his advances to get Wilder to the Middle East were spurned.
Instead, Joshua is looking at a more likely rematch with Dillian Whyte, with a possible clash and Zhilei Zhang or Chris Arreola before the British Showdown.
“I think it all [the plan] depends on when AJ fights,” Hearn told The DAZN Boxing Show. “If he waits until April or May, he may go straight into the Dillian Whyte fight. But if he fights in February, he may have a warm-up fight first.
“He’s coming to Abu Dhabi this week. We are sitting down with him to plan the next step. We’re on the verge of mapping that out.”
On Wilder, the Essex man added: “I actually sent Shelly Finkel an email back in August to talk about a deal. He replied to me yesterday.
“I invited them out here to Abu Dhabi this week. They can’t come. But I see the Deontay Wilder fight probably being the second fight for Anthony Joshua, in all honesty. But he’s up for fighting anyone.
“If he waits, he may go straight into that fight. It all depends on when he returns. If he returns early in the year, he’ll fight someone else first.
“If not, he’ll go straight into the Whyte or Wilder fight.”
Wilder vs Ruiz
That’s a definite no for the Wilder attempt. Wilder vs Ruiz Jr. has wheels in motion and could get confirmed at the end of November.
Surely Eddie would know this. However, is he still trying to give the fans false hope of a potential Wilder vs Joshua encounter?
If Wilder beats Ruiz, he’d also be first in line for the WBC belt holding “The Gypsy King,” who could have all the titles by then. Another chance to avenge his trilogy fight loss [back-to-back defeats] would be too much of an incentive.
Therefore, why would the Alabama slammer, who has 42 KOs in 42 wins, need Anthony Joshua at any point in 2023 or for his legacy?
Especially with the Londoner coming off back-to-back world title defeats. It doesn’t make sense.
The Brit former heavyweight champion needs to focus on getting a couple of knockout victories against also-ran opponents. Maybe Whyte, Zhang, or Arreola to get his confidence back.
He shouldn’t worry about possibly getting badly knocked out by a big right hand from “The Bronze Bomber.”
Robert Helenius can testify to that. Last month, he got leathered in the first round by a right hand at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Going from Joshua’s current form, facing the Tuscaloosa native anytime soon, looks like a career suicide mission.
You’d think his own promoter would be the first to know that.
It’s Wilder vs Ruiz and Wilder for undisputed. The double is on the cards. It doesn’t include an AJ diversion.
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.