Anthony Joshua has warned Deontay Wilder he must be “realistic” with his demands if they are to reach an agreement to fight in 2018.
Talks for a world heavyweight title unification fight between the pair have begun with Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn flying to New York last week to meet with Wilder representatives.
Joshua has also been linked with fights against fellow Brit Tyson Fury and WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker but he says he would be happy to face Wilder – as long as the American does not overplay his hand at the negotiating table.
When asked about facing Wilder, Joshua told Dubai Eye 103.8: “Yeah, why not? I’ve always handled my business with negotiations behind closed doors. When things are done, I’ll announce them.
“I am not in the business of making promises that I can’t fulfil. I am working on getting this fight done.
“Providing Deontay Wilder is true to his word this fight will happen in 2018.
“It is simple business. We have worked with all-time greats like [Wladimir] Klitschko. We have managed to defend this title five times.
“If they are realistic about what they want, we can definitely make this fight happen.”
Eddie Hearn says initial talks for a 2018 mega fight between Joshua and Wilder to unify the heavyweight division have gone well
Wilder (39-0-38KO) is a big puncher who has only been the distance once in his undefeated career – against Bermane Stiverne in 2015 and he finished Stiverne inside one round of their rematch earlier this month.
The WBC world champion is a dangerous opponent for Joshua (20-0-20KO) but the former Olympic gold medallist insists he is not afraid to take risks.
“Once you reach an elite level in any sport, you’re going to meet stiff competition,” Joshua said.
“At heavyweight, even the greatest of all time – Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, and Jack Johnson – have taken a loss at some stage.
“But if you lose that does not mean it is the end of you. It is how you come back from that.
“Most heavyweight champions are two or three-time world champions because they’ve achieved; made a mistake; and come back better. That’s just the way life is.
“Losing my unbeaten record will never hold me back from competition because I thrive off it and it makes you a better person in the long run.”