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Hearn says Anthony Joshua will fight Deontay Wilder in 2018

Wilder declared ‘war’ on Joshua, and says Hearn is delaying talks on possible match-up

Anthony Joshua celebrating victory over Carlos Takam with his father Robert after his world heavyweight title bout in Cardiff in October. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Anthony Joshua will fight Deontay Wilder in what would be a mouth-watering heavyweight clash in 2018, the British fighter’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has insisted.

Joshua and Wilder have appeared destined to meet ever since the former beat Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in April to add the WBA title to his IBF version.

Wilder is the WBC champion, and in what is a limited division it feels not only inevitable but also necessary that the pair meet.

That became even more the case after Joshua and Wilder won their respective recent fights, against Carlos Takam and Bermane Stiverne.

After knocking out Stiverne in under a round in New York at the weekend, Wilder declared “war” on Joshua, and accused Hearn of delaying negotiations regarding a potential match-up.

Reacting on Thursday and also speaking in New York, Hearn said the pair would meet next year and that talks over the fight would begin immediately.

“We’re not receiving any offers, any contacts, and Deontay Wilder is doing a great job of convincing people that AJ is running from this fight,” Hearn said to Sky Sports News. “Our job is to deliver, but it doesn’t happen ove rnight. This first meeting today may go well, it may go terribly, but fans need to know we want the fight. It will happen in 2018 unquestionably.”

He added: “If we offered Wilder his true value the meeting would last two minutes. So we have to compromise between reality and fantasy.”


Despite his confidence over Joshua and Wilder meeting next year, Hearn cautioned that the Brit could first meet the WBO champion Joseph Parker as part of his bid to unify the heavyweight division.

“The instructions from AJ is ‘I want to be the unified champion by the end of 2018’, so that means going through Wilder and Parker,” said Hearn. “We would fight Wilder in the US. We’d love the fight in the UK. Maybe we do two of them.”

Hearn spoke shortly after Joshua had taken to social media to goad not only Wilder, Parker and fellow heavyweight Tyson Fury.

The 28-year-old’s opening salvo – aimed at Parker – was a gif of Kermit the Frog drinking tea. The tweet read: “.@joeboxerparker Sips tea, continues to read tweets & refreshes email.. Still No Offer.”

Wilder was next on Joshua’s hitlist, with the Watford-born fighter posting a YouTube video of a lengthy interview during which he urged the American to set up a title fight between the two. An accompanying tweet said: “A little word on the @BronzeBomber fight. Ready & waiting for the offer.”

Quick-fire tweet

A third quick-fire tweet was aimed in the direction of an out-of-shape Fury, with Joshua tweeting: “& @Tyson_Fury get fit you fat f-ck.”

This prompted a response from BoxNation presenter Kugan Cassius, which seemed to rile Joshua. It was suggested by Cassius that people were seeing “the real Anthony Joshua this morning”, to which the boxer retorted: “The real anthony joshua? Because of what ?.... a swear word? Shut the f*** up.”

He later told Cassius to “pipe down” as the series of seemingly out-of-character tweets came to an end.

– Guardian