Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, and the Complex Road to the Ring

September 7, 2023
From: Spartacus

The much-anticipated clash between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder is proving to be a complicated affair, replete with financial complexities and tentative timelines. Promoter Eddie Hearn recently confirmed that while Joshua is prepared to extend the waiting period until January for the bout to happen, any further delays into February or March might necessitate an interim fight to maintain his form. 

Discussing the financial intricacies involved, Eddie Hearn stated, “A huge amount of money has to be signed off. It’s not just as easy as ‘I can’t believe it. What’s the hold-up? Just give him the 50-60 million, whatever it is, and away we go.'” Clearly, the magnitude of the financial undertakings for such a high-profile fight involves much more than mere agreements between the fighters. It necessitates a multilayered process of financial vetting and approval, often requiring the nod from stakeholders far removed from the boxing ring. 

Deontay Wilder, the fighter often referred to as the ‘Bronze Bomber,’ holds a peculiar position in this evolving scenario. Having not fought since his impressive first-round knockout of Robert Helenius last October, a delayed bout could stoke concerns about Wilder’s potential ring rust. However, as many within the sport have indicated, with Wilder’s exceptional power and speed coupled with Joshua’s traditionally more conservative fighting style, a single, well-timed punch could be a game-changer. “One big hand from Wilder on AJ’s fragile chin might be all that is needed for victory,” echoes the prevailing sentiment within the boxing community.

The fight’s potential to be a blockbuster event is further heightened by discussions of a possible addition to the fight card. Eddie Hearn revealed, “There’s still a possibility that the undisputed heavyweight clash between Tyson Fury & Oleksandr Usyk could be included on the Joshua-Wilder card.” Given Tyson Fury’s waning popularity due to inactivity and lacklustre opponents, adding his fight against Usyk to the card could be a strategic masterstroke to ensure the event’s overwhelming success, especially when hosted by Saudi stakeholders intent on a spectacle.

The negotiations’ status was keenly inquired about by DAZN Boxing’s Akin Reyes who asked Hearn, “AJ-Wilder, is that done already or pretty much done and not too many hoops you’ve got to jump through? Are we going to be announcing that quite possibly?” In response, Eddie Hearn indicated, “These things take time, but again in London today, there are meetings about that fight. Everything’s kind of agreed other than signing of the paperwork.”

Meanwhile, Anthony Joshua has not been idle. He has successfully beaten Jermaine Franklin and Robert Helenius this year, albeit a scheduled bout with Dillian Whyte fell through due to a doping scandal surrounding Whyte. Eddie Hearn feels that while Joshua has shown improvement after teaming up with new trainer Derrick James, it’s still ambiguous whether substantial development has occurred given the level of recent opponents.

However, contingency plans are emerging in the form of a high-profile callout from heavyweight veteran Derek Chisora. The latter expressed, “AJ is in the driving seat…Everyone wants to fight him cause he’s a big attraction. Me? I’d fight him every day, bro.” Chisora recently snapped a three-fight losing streak and considers himself a worthy opponent for Joshua, should the Wilder fight fall through.

So, as it stands, the looming match between Joshua and Wilder is shrouded in layers of administrative, financial, and even tactical complexities. The machinations behind this prospective bout have been rife with complications, as Eddie Hearn concluded, “I truly believe, having spoken to Shelly Finkel and those guys, that Wilder is up for and ready for this fight also. Let’s just tie up the paperwork and the funds and try and get it over the line.”

This fight, therefore, is not just a test of athletic prowess, but also an examination of bureaucratic efficiency and financial dexterity. The tension heightens as the stakeholders negotiate through this intricate maze, all the while with the boxing world watching keenly. Will this high-stakes, high-reward contest materialise as fans hope, or will it dissolve into a missed opportunity? Until the contractual ink dries, the outcome remains uncertain.

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