Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has laid into vocal heavyweights, past and present, criticising his man’s career path.
Speaking at the Joshua vs Povetkin post-fight press conference, Hearn stated that the popular Watford fighter, perceived by many to be the sport’s premier big man, is doing remarkable things considering he is only 22 fights deep into his pro career. Hearn fired a warning shot across the water to Deontay Wilder and his team, saying their man will not wait around for the American to conduct business and wants to start negotiations as soon as possible.
“There’s never been any disruption to the career of Anthony Joshua. Everything is solid — step-by-step. We’re not waiting for time wasters,” remarked Eddie.
“What we are saying is, we’ll negotiate the [Wilder] fight now, and if you lose we understand we’ll have to find another opponent. But if you win, we’re not waiting until December. These aren’t negotiations that’ll take 24 hours. I’m not having the career of Anthony Joshua slowed down by people slow-playing the deal.”
Hearn insists that he wants to make the deal happen for April and said that talks with Shelly Finkel have already been re-opened. Eddie also questioned the level of competition that Wilder has been engaging with of late; that seemed slightly unfair given that Wilder’s most recent fight was against Cuban dangerman Luis Ortiz. Prior to the Ortiz win, Eddie does have a point.
“He [Anthony Joshua] is fighting the very best in the world,” continued Hearn. “Number two wasn’t available, we couldn’t make that deal, so we boxed number three. And guess what? When we boxed Joseph Parker he was number three in the Ring ratings so what more has he got to do?”
If Fury puts a spanner in the works and upsets Wilder in their proposed December showdown, then a rematch clause in the agreed contract is likely to keep the pair together for a further fight. Fury winning is not an ideal situation for Hearn who says Wilder is the preferred opponent. The April ultimatum Hearn is putting forward is unlikely to suit Wilder’s team, so it opens the door for a Dillian Whyte rematch. If this is a bluff, then Wilder may call it, as he did with the $50million offer, and agree to fight Joshua.
A decisive Wilder victory over Fury puts Wilder’s team into a stronger negotiating position. Their man would enter talks as the WBC heavyweight champion with lineal king Tyson Fury’s scalp in his pocket. This would add further complications to the purse split conversation and who out of Wilder and AJ is bringing more to the table. Joshua clearly sells out arenas, holds multiple titles and has wins over Wladimir Klitschko and Joseph Parker so would have a legitimate claim himself to being installed as the A-side. No wonder Hearn is eager to agree on a deal now before Wilder has a chance to look spectacular.
Now boxing twice a year, Joshua will be out in April and again in November or December barring any injuries. Optimistic projections would place the winner of Wilder or Fury into the mix for the latter date. The aforementioned Whyte would be favourite for April, with Dereck Chisora and Jarrell Miller also both in the frame.