According to Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times, Deontay Wilder’s team have received a contract from Anthony Joshua which may determine if the Heavyweight champions will collide at the end of the year. Both Joshua and Wilder have been angling for the fight which would crown the division’s first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis nearly 20 years ago and the first to hold all four belts.
Wilder defended his title in his sternest test to date stopping Luis Ortiz in the tenth round of a thrilling content while Joshua added the WBO belt to his waist by outpointing Joseph Parker last May. The two camps immediately began angling for the bout with Wilder’s camp opting to make major concessions to host the bout in the United States including possibly a $50 million purse for the British star to cross the Atlantic.
Joshua has been apprehensive in coming to the US for the bout, particularly because he believes the fight would do better business in the UK where he is a huge draw. For his 2017 clash against Wladimir Klitschko, the bout drew nearly 90,000 spectators for Joshua’s 11th round KO win. Wilder has not come anywhere near Joshua’s level of influence stateside despite being the most prominent American champion in over a decade and would certainly have to concede to the B-side whether the fight was domestic or abroad.
Though Wilder’s team have gone above and beyond to make the fight and it is looking likely the fight may happen, Joshua has been negotiating with a fallback plan already in place. Should negotiations turn sour or overly difficult, Joshua will not be without his share of options. Alexander Povetkin looms as a mandatory defense and the returning Tyson Fury may present an even bigger reward than a unification bout with Wilder. The same cannot be said for the US champ whose risk-averse booking would suggest another softball foe if he doesn’t agree to Joshua’s terms.
All things considered, both sides seem optimistic that the mega fight can happen by the end of the year. With the ball in Wilder’s court, a final decision should be made in the coming days.