It will have to wait.
Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder threw up his arms in frustration at the refusal of England’s three-belt champion Anthony Joshua to fight him this year in a late-night Twitter rant Wednesday.
“I’m sorry guys, they played us all,” Wilder (40-0, 39 knockouts) wrote, astonished that Joshua refused deep concessions by the Alabama heavyweight’s team, including a $50-million guarantee for Joshua to fight in the U.S. and a downsized purse for Wilder if the fight happened in the U.K.
“I tried to give you guys the biggest fight of your lives, the most exciting fight in history. The first undisputed, undefeated, unified heavyweight champion of the world since [Lennox] Lewis … ,” World Boxing Council champion Wilder wrote Wednesday in a social media post to his fans.
Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) is moving toward an alternative meeting with former heavyweight title challenger Alexander Povetkin of Russia, who previously blew an earlier shot at Wilder in Russia when he tested positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance.
Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn told the Los Angeles Times that the fight will be in London, either on Sept. 22 or Sept. 29 with Wembley Stadium, London Stadium and Twickenham Stadium the leading possible venues.
Hearn also revealed that the bout will “very possibly” be shown by DAZN, the sports streaming service with which Hearn signed a $1-billion, multiyear deal in May.
Many in the boxing industry long suspected Hearn would move Joshua away from a Wilder showdown in the fall in an effort to allow the DAZN project to begin smoothly.
Hearn has said as much, discussing his plans for a 2019 Joshua-Wilder clash.
Earlier this week, when the World Boxing Assn. mandated that Joshua fight Povetkin or lose his belt, Hearn had all the room he needed to move toward Povetkin and press pause on Wilder.
Certainly, belts have value in the sport, but it’s doubtful Joshua had any more attachment to his WBA belt than Gennady Golovkin had for his International Boxing Federation middleweight belt that was stripped from him by fighting Vanes Martirosyan on May 5.
The unbeaten will live without his IBF belt as he savors collecting the richest purse of his life Sept. 15 against Canelo Alvarez without paying a sanctioning fee, and Joshua could have done the same by taking on Wilder with or without the WBA’s involvement.
Wilder railed at Joshua’s resistance to a bout that is perfectly timed to happen now.
“He’s not a stand up guy,” Wilder wrote. “They offered me a ‘Flat Fee’ … something that’s equivalent to a pack of peanuts + loaf bread & a jar of honey … I just basically took the lowest offer in boxing history for a unified title bout … smh.