Deontay Wilder is willing to sign a fight deal to face Anthony Joshua next after co-manager Shelly Finkel revealed the news in a world exclusive to WBN.
Wilder, who has a mandatory eliminator with Andy Ruiz Jr. lined up for 2023, would be willing to delay the WBC bout to secure a clash with Joshua.
Finkel explained how Wilder feels about the event five years after the pair first discussed a collision.
For one reason or another, Wilder vs Joshua failed to come to fruition despite repeated attempts.
Deontay Wilder wants Anthony Joshua next
“Deontay is willing to fight Anthony Joshua next,” Finkel told World Boxing News in a world-exclusive interview. “We would take that fight in the UK or the Middle East, and we will do it next.
“We have the WBC eliminator with Ruiz, and we will do that, but we want the Joshua fight. Eddie Hearn said he contacted me in August, but we had the [Robert] Helenius fight.
“We announced it that month and said we won’t talk to anyone until after the Helenius fight. Eddie knew this but still said he had contacted us.
“Now we are willing to talk to make a deal for Joshua next.”
Asked whether Joshua potentially facing Dillian Whyte in a rematch had any bearing on his thoughts, Finkel added: “Whyte didn’t look good [on Saturday night versus Jermaine Franklin], so why would Joshua want to take that fight?
“Deontay wants the fight next. We’ve been trying since 2017 to get the Joshua fight. Let’s make a deal and do the fight. The fans want to see it, so why not?”
Premier Boxing Champions promoter Al Haymon lobbied with the World Boxing Council to sanction a semi-final tournament featuring Wilder and Ruiz. Both came through their respective fights and were authorized to fight for a chance to meet Tyson Fury.
Wilder has already fought Fury three times. However, Finkel says they will go through with the Ruiz/Fury plan if AJ doesn’t come to the table.
They will then look to fight Joshua again or wait for the sanction from the WBC to meet Fury.
Wilder vs Ruiz
“The Ruiz fight is there, and we will do it if we can’t get Joshua. But even if Deontay beats Ruiz, we are still willing to fight Joshua.
“We are worried that he might want another tune-up if he fights Whyte and doesn’t look good. So we should go straight into that fight next.
“We understand Eddie could want the Whyte fight [as Joshua has lost twice to Usyk], but the fans would like to see Deontay Wilder vs Anthony Joshua, and we are willing to do it.
“Let’s make a deal,” he concluded.
Wilder vs Joshua is a long-drawn-out saga that reached its peak in 2018. WBN was at the forefront as Finkel, and his team did all they could to get the fight over the line.
In the end, Joshua walked away to face Alexander Povetkin after the WBA enforced a mandatory. WBA President Gilberto Mendoza later revealed to WBN that they would have granted it for the Wilder fight if Joshua had asked for an exception.
It wasn’t to be, and Wilder moved straight to sending an offer to Fury. “The Gypsy King” then accepted instantly despite being out for three years.
The rest is history, and the pair enjoyed a two-year saga through three bouts. Now that it’s over, Wilder is looking for Joshua to return to the table.
If Joshua disagrees, Wilder vs Ruiz could take place in Las Vegas in the first half of next year, Finkel confirmed to WBN.