Deontay Wilder facing Anthony Joshua was labeled ‘a mismatch’ by Eddie Hearn, who considers Francis Ngannou an opponent for March.
Hearn’s admission comes as Wilder was dominated by Joseph Parker following just two fights in four years. The Matchroom boss sees the former UFC champion as a more viable option.
Ngannou dropped Tyson Fury on his way to losing his solitary boxing match after crossing over from MMA. Joshua vs Ngannou is since on a shortlist of three for the spring in Saudi Arabia.
Deontay Wilder ‘a mismatch’ for Anthony Joshua
“The fight’s dead for now. The people who wanted to put the fight on no longer see that as the fight that it was,” Hearn told IFL TV.
“The numbers don’t work now. Wilder is a busted flush at the moment. It’s a mismatch in my opinion,” he added.
Wilder stated after his loss that he would still sign to fight Joshua on March 9. However, the ex-WBC heavyweight champion is out of the running and won’t be considered.
“Right now, we have three fights we are in discussions for. They are all big,” pointed out Hearn. “They don’t involve Wilder for March.
“We aim to fight the Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk winner. The [Filip] Hrgovic fight is out there for the heavyweight title. There is the Francis Ngannou fight, which would be colossal. There is the [Zhilei] Zhang fight, possibly with Queensberry.
“The things that AJ wants to do is be in massive fights. He wants to win the world heavyweight title, fight Tyson Fury, or get another crack at Usyk.
“That’s what Ben [Davison] wants – another crack at Usyk. For me, I’d love the Fury fight.”
Joshua vs Hrgovic or Ngannou
Joshua would need to sit tight and see what happens when Fury vs Usyk occurs on February 17. Due to a rematch clause, The IBF will likely strip the winner within days.
Furthermore, Hrgovic is first in line for a crack at the title if the IBF does act. As the number two, Joshua will also be selected for the vacant title.
That is the most likely scenario despite Hearn mentioning Ngannou and Zhang. However, the Londoner gave a clue that Ngannou could be next, with Hrgovic waiting until later in the year.
As far as staving off the most dangerous challenge, that would undoubtedly be AJ’s easiest route on paper.
“A lot has to happen by March to make that possible with Hrgovic. Fury and Usyk fight in the middle of February. Are they going to be able to keep the belt? Do they have to let it go? There’s a lot of discussions.
“If that’s in play for March, that’s a possibility. Maybe that’s a fight that, when everything plays out, could be one for the summer.
“As I said, our conversations are about mapping AJ’s next four or five fights. Mapping out his 2024 and potentially the rest of his career.”