Anthony Joshua: Wilder fight “has to happen”

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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.

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.”

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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