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30th Jul 2018

Tense exchange takes place between Tony Bellew and Frank Warren

It's the contract that everyone's talking about

Darragh Murphy

Has there ever been a more drawn-out negotiating process in boxing history?

Talks are still taking place over the eagerly anticipated heavyweight unification fight between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, with both fighters’ camps publicly discussing their side of the story.

Wilder has blamed Joshua for failing to sign a contract which would see the pair share the ring in 2018 while Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn insists that he received no concrete paperwork.

Joshua is now set to fight mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin next while Hearn remains hopeful of setting Wilder up with a title defence against Dillian Whyte in the autumn.

However the fight that everyone wants to see remains Joshua vs. Wilder and it’s been one of the biggest talking points in the boxing community for some time as the winner of the bout would become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.

Joshua’s Matchroom stablemate, Tony Bellew, got into a heated discussion on the subject of the negotiations between ‘AJ’ and Wilder during a segment on talkSPORT on Monday morning, when Frank Warren waded in with his take.

Warren, a rival promoter, is adamant that he personally saw the contract that was sent to Joshua while Bellew refused to believe the claim.

Warren: It takes two to make a deal and if you really want to make a deal, you make it happen. All I know is that Anthony Joshua turned down a guarantee of $80 million, which was $50 million as a purse and $30 million guaranteed for a rematch. And that wasn’t the purses. That was the guarantee!
Bellew: It’s all well and good calling it a guarantee, Frank. But if there’s no contract then there’s nothing to sign.
Warren: There was a contract sent. I’ve seen it so I know exactly what went down.
Bellew: How can you see it if you’re not the promoter of them? How is that even possible?
Warren: Because I work with Shelley Finkel, who is the manager of Deontay Wilder. That’s why we’re having negotiations.
Bellew: He shouldn’t be showing you personal contracts and information, especially a contract that a fighter, who is supposed to be the top of the bill at heavyweight, hasn’t seen.
Warren: Whether he should or he shouldn’t, you just asked a question and I’ve just told you what was in it.
Bellew: And I’m just telling you it didn’t happen!
Warren: You’re telling me because you haven’t seen it, whereas I know it for a fact.
Bellew: I also know for a fact that if a contract was sent for $50 million, he’d have taken it.
Warren: Well 100 per cent, it was sent to him, along with the guarantees and the SHOWTIME guarantees as the US broadcaster.