Deontay Wilder mulling offer to fight Anthony Joshua, official says
Deontay Wilder and his advisers are reviewing an offer from fellow heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua for a bout in the United Kingdom, the Los Angeles Times has learned.
World Boxing Council champion Wilder and his lead manager Shelly Finkel earlier this month said they’d accept fighting England’s three-belt champion Joshua in the U.K., but terms and the date were not immediately identified.
One official monitoring the talks told The Times last week that there’s skepticism Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn is willing to stage Joshua-Wilder in the fall, when he’s poised to launch DAZN’s $1 billion streaming operation of live fights starting in September.
While Joshua (21-0, 20 knockouts) has the backup option of taking a mandatory fall title defense against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin, the showdown with Wilder never has been riper.
The unknown is what terms Joshua has offered to Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) after Wilder’s team previously extended a $50 million guarantee for Joshua to fight in the U.S.
The risk in that proposal was that while Joshua-Wilder stands as the most significant heavyweight clash since Lennox Lewis’ 2002 knockout of Mike Tyson in Memphis, neither Joshua nor Wilder has fought on American pay-per-view.
Joshua has massive drawing power in the U.K., where he has attracted around 250,000 to his past three bouts, including a torch-passing, 11th-round technical knockout of long-reigning Wladimir Klitschko before 90,000 at London’s Wembley Stadium in April 2017.
Wilder’s team, The Times has learned, received the contract proposal Monday night and has yet to officially respond.
An answer could come to Joshua “within the next few days,” according to one official close to the negotiation who is not authorized to speak publicly.
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