Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder negotiations will begin this week, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.
Joshua’s plan to add the WBC and WBO belts to his IBF and WBA gold has gathered pace since his most recent defence against Carlos Takam, and Hearn now hopes to pair him against fellow unbeaten champion Wilder, although Joseph Parker remains an option.
“I’m sitting down with [Wilder’s representatives] Shelly Finkel and Al Haymon later this week to have our first conversations regarding Joshua vs Wilder,” Hearn exclusively told Sky Sports.
“Like all these big fights it’s never easy but hopefully we can find somewhere between reality and fantasy that suits all.
“I had a good meeting with AJ [on Tuesday] – it’s his goal to try and become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world by the close of 2018 so, at present, to do that we must go through Parker and Wilder.”
Joshua is the main target for Wilder and Parker, respectively the WBC and WBO champions, according to statements made already this week.
Wilder sent Joshua a message
Wilder, who defended his belt against mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne last weekend, addressed Joshua saying: “You said if the people want it, then you want it. Well, the people want it so do you? Do you have a hidden agenda? Your promoter talks so much and said you’d knock me out in three rounds. Let’s see it. I’m ready to dethrone you.”
Wilder is immediately able to pursue the fight, according to WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman who told Sky Sports News: “The WBC has cleared the path for [Wilder against Joshua]. The WBC champion must fight the mandatory contender once every year. Wilder has one whole year to do whatever he pleases without any mandates. He is absolutely free.”
Meanwhile, Parker, who defended his title most recently against Hughie Fury, announced on Wednesday morning that he was in talks to face Joshua.
“I want to fight Joshua. He has got two belts and I want to test his chin and put on a great show,” Parker said at a press conference which also confirmed “an agreement in principle” to face Lucas Browne next.
“Those [other] fights would be good to keep busy, but the ultimate fight is to fight Joshua. He is the preferred option for us.”
Hearn has confirmed Parker's claims
Parker’s promoter David Higgins added: “Eddie Hearn and I have exchanged emails. My message was Joe would fight Joshua next and Hearn’s message was that Joshua would fight Parker next.
“It’s now a question of the deal and money.”
Hearn confirmed with Sky Sports: “I spoke to [Parker’s promoter] David Higgins [on Tuesday night] and we are discussing the deal and fight in depth over the next few days to see if there is some common ground.”
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