Search icon


18th May 2023

Eddie Hearn confirms “deal in place” for Joshua vs Wilder

Charlie Herbert

He expects a formal offer to be made to AJ this week

Eddie Hearn has said he believes a deal is ‘pretty much in place’ for a fight between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder in December.

Speaking to The Mac Life, the promoter said it was his understanding that Wilder has “pretty much a deal in place” with Saudi Arabia for a bout with AJ in December.

He is expecting the Saudis to make a formal offer to Joshua this week.

Last month, Joshua said he believed a fight with the American fighter was “95 percent there.”

This was after the Brit returned to winning ways with a unanimous points win over Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Arena.

This was the first stage of his three-fight plan to return to the top of the division.

However, AJ later confirmed he would not be in action again until December.

There have been lengthy discussions between him and Wilder for a showdown in Saudi Arabia and it seems like a deal is close to being agreed between the fighters and the Saudis.

Fans have been asking for a fight between AJ and the Bronze Bomber ever since the Brit won his first world title in 2016.

AJ returned to winning ways with a unanimous points victory over Jermaine Franklin in April (Getty)

Wilder had become world champion the year earlier, and after defending his title on 10 occasions, ended up taking on Tyson Fury, who ended his reign as WBC world champion in February 2020.

Joshua and Wilder were tipped to clash after the Brit became unified IBF, WBA and WBO champion in 2018, but this never materialised.

Despite the pair having lost their world titles since then, a clash between them would still be a huge occasion, with the winner likely being able to go on and challenge Fury or Usyk. Meanwhile it could be the end of the road for whoever comes out second best.

Deontay Wilder celebrates after knocking out Robert Helenius in the first round during their WBC world heavyweight title eliminator bout in October last year (Getty)

A fight in Saudi Arabia could even take place on the same night as a blockbuster unification bout between Fury and Usyk.

Organisers are planning what would surely be the biggest ever night in boxing, according to reports, and Joshua reckons the plans are realistic.

He told the Metro: “From my experiences with Saudi, if they say they are going to do something, they are more than likely going to do it.

“So that’s one end of it. And then you let the other guys [promoter Eddie Hearn, his management team] do what they do. But as the man behind the scenes, it is important to start getting ready.”

Speaking about Wilder, he said: “He is good, I respect him, I don’t undermine him. That will make me raise my game.

“I respect what he has done and what he has done in this division. It is hard to become a champion and he did it so I have to respect that.

“It’s going to be a tough fight but I am confident in myself. I’m a better, more well-rounded athlete, a better, more well-rounded fighter.

“In terms of it getting delivered [from my side], I honestly believe it is 95 per cent there.”

I wish we had got this fight on before years ago, it shouldn’t have taken the big offer to get it over the line. We have just got to want to fight. If you do good business outside of the ring you make money in the ring.

“But you have to want to fight regardless. It is not about the deal being right, that’s the wrong mindset.”

Related links:

Susanna Reid left speechless by Anthony Joshua’s ‘bizarre behaviour’ during live interview

KSI’s win against Joe Fournier could be in doubt after alleged illegal elbow

Tommy Fury brawls with fellow Love Island contestant in the crowd at KSI fight