With the deal for an Anthony Joshua-Deontay Wilder fight to take place in Saudi Arabia in January now officially dead, the two former heavyweight champions are looking at potential alternatives. Yet at the same time, Eddie Hearn, who of course promotes AJ, says the Wilder fight is “still very much the plan.”
Hearn, speaking with IFL TV, said “we’re talking to other sites about that fight in February or March,” and again, Hearn insists the fight with Wilder is Joshua’s preferred next fight. But will it happen, and if not, who might Joshua fight next instead?
“We’re spinning blades, as we always do,” Hearn said during another round of seemingly non-stop interviews. “You know what we want to do, we want to fight Deontay Wilder. That was supposed to happen in January, we accepted the offer, we know it’s not materialized now…..because it was made by someone that couldn’t deliver the fight at that time. It alright. That happens. We’d agreed, Wilder had agreed, now we’re talking to other sites about that fight in February or March and that’s still the plan, very much the plan. Now, the other plan is, do we fight in December? And that’s something we’ve got to decide, quite honestly, next week because it’s not far away. So AJ needs to get into camp if he’s going to fight in December, [or] he may just wait for the big fight in February or March, but he always wants to fight and stay active, so we’ll see.”
Joshua HAS had two fights this year, this his most active year in terms of number of fights taken in quite a while. But now, if he doesn’t box in December, if he instead fights again in February or March, the 33 year old will engage in either a six or a seven month inactive spell. For Wilder, it’s even worse, with the 37 year old not having fought in almost a full year.
The Joshua-Wilder fight is of course once worth saving, and just because the Saudi deal fell apart, it doesn’t mean the fight itself cannot still happen. But fans are losing patience, and belief. It would be nice to know the other sites that Hearn is speaking with as far as where the fight could happen in February or March, and if there has been any genuine progress.
If we go by a gut-feeling, a Joshua fight against TBA in December looks more likely than the Wilder fight happening. And there is talk of a possible Joshua-Zhilei Zhang fight, maybe in China. December is not far away, as Hearn says, but Zhang, after his quick and relatively straightforward win over Joe Joyce, could in theory go again as soon as December.
And while Joshua-Wilder remains the most exciting option for AJ, and for Wilder, we fans would not mind seeing Joshua rumble with the man called “Big Bang.” As to where this would leave Wilder, who knows at this point? Hopefully, though, Wilder will fight again soon, and against a big name.