Anthony Joshua’s next fight could be a world heavyweight title unification bout with Deontay Wilder after all, despite reports that the deal had fallen through and the Brit was due to face mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin instead.
Eddie Hearn admitted last week that talks for a 2018 fight the between IBF, WBA and WBO champion and WBC king Wilder would have to be shelved until next year, with Russian Povetkin next for Joshua.
However, news broke from the US overnight on Tuesday that Wilder and his camp had now accepted the offer from Joshua and Matchroom.
Wilder’s co-manager Shelly Finkel and his trainer Jay Deas both confirmed the offer had been accepted, although no date had been set just yet.
“We have agreed to the terms that Eddie has put out to us for a fight in the U.K. Deontay has accepted his terms to fight in the UK,” Finkel told ESPN. “Deontay sent an email to Joshua [Sunday] night, and I sent one [Monday] to Barry Hearn and Eddie telling them that we officially accept the offer to fight under the terms they gave us and to send us the contract.”
Wilder’s trainer Deas added, in a separate interview, that they would push for a signed contract as early as Tuesday and the fight could be anywhere from September to November to avoid conflict with a potential Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin rematch in September.
🚨BREAKING NEWS🚨 for all you @anthonyfjoshua fans… The $50M offer for him to fight me next in the US is still available. Today I even agreed to their offer to fight Joshua next in the UK. If he prefers the fight in the UK, the ball is in their court. It’s up to them to choose. pic.twitter.com/03PE8sk5x0
— Deontay Wilder (@BronzeBomber) June 11, 2018
“They offered and we accepted,” he said. “We offered $50m, which is what he said he wanted and he then turned it down. Then they came back with a much, much, much smaller offer for Deontay, which would have been even less than Deontay would have made in the United States, and wanted him to still travel to the UK for the fight. And we said yes.
“The reason we did was because Deontay is investing in himself. He wants this for the fans and he wants this for his legacy and he knows that being the undisputed heavyweight champ of the world will give him the financial gain as he proceeds. Even though we would have liked a better deal, Deontay said yes.
Wilder posted on his Twitter account Monday that the $50m offer to fight in America is still on the table.
“Today I even agreed to their offer to fight Joshua next in the UK,” he said in the tweet. “If he prefers the fight in the UK, the ball is in their court. It’s up to them to choose.”
Now, the two biggest heavyweight names could be poised to meet next, pushing back the mandatory Povetkin fight, as a unification bout always takes precedence.
“If they keep their word, then we’ve got a fight,” Deas added. “So we’re fully expecting to go to the UK and we’re ready. We’re ready to do it tomorrow. All they have to do is tell us where to be and when to be there, and we’ll be there.”