Anthony Joshua: Wilder fight “has to happen”

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Updated: Apr 12, 2018

Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) has admitted that a potential super-fight between the divisions two heavyweight champions “has to happen”.

Joshua, who holds the IBF, WBA and WBO belts called out WBC champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) in the aftermath of Joshua’s points win over Joseph Parker two weeks ago. The American has since verbally accepted Joshua’s offer to fight in a bout to determine the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, but negotiations are proving a challenge.

Deontay Wilder has been offered a flat fee of £8.8 million to fight Anthony Joshua and unify the heavyweight division, the American seems set to turn down the offer to fight Joshua. The WBC champion received a fight contract from Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn, but it is believed the offer falls well short of Wilder’s expectations.

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Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has made three offers to Wilder’s team, but are yet to hear back from them, a fight between the pair would gross at least £60 million and possibly far more. However, through the American’s management team, co-manager Shelly Finkel, refuted this and insisted that this is “the first offer”, which was a “flat fee with no place, date or venue, nor even whether it was the next fight”.

“It was a take-it-or-leave-it offer,” Finkel said. “We will respond ­appropriately in the next day or so with our counter offer. If Joshua is serious, we will take the fight.

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“Deontay wants this fight. He doesn’t want anyone else.”

Anthony Joshua insists he would fight Deontay Wilder for $50m dollars tomorrow if the offer was there, the American has gone on record saying he would be willing to fight Joshua in the UK accepting a 60/40 split in favour of the Briton.

“If it is a $100m fight and they are happy with taking 60-40, I’ll take 50-50. Give me $50m dollars up front and I swear I’ll take that fight tomorrow,” Joshua said.

“They’re not making offers like that, but they’re talking about it, so it’s not real. We offered them a lucrative deal and we are just waiting to hear if he’s serious or not.

 “They like to jump on social media, rather than emailing us back in a professional manner. I don’t understand where they’re coming from, nevertheless, there’s many heavyweights out there that are serious.”

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For this fight not to happen, it would be bad for the sport of boxing. Joshua added: “It has to happen. There’s not really been many fights in the heavyweight division in history that haven’t happened when you’re talking about championship level.

“In terms of history, I think that this fight has to happen because it wouldn’t be great for this era of boxing if it doesn’t happen.”
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