Talks for a super fight between Anthony Joshua and his rival, American WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, will begin in New York today (Thursday) evening.
Promoter Eddie Hearn arrived in the Big Apple, saying: ‘I am opening negotiations here tonight (Thursday) for AJ to box Wilder in 2018.’
Public pressure for Joshua, holder of the WBA and IBF world tiles, to meet Wilder, the WBC champion, in a unification blockbuster has intensified since each of their recent KO victories.
After Joshua defeated Carlos Takam in Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, Wilder inflicted a more spectacular KO victory over Bermaine Stiverne in New York and then called out AJ to ‘stop running and ducking me.’
Hearn has been hoping to route Wilder through a London warm-up fight against Dillian Wyte in February but American promoter, Lou DiBella, has dismissed it as ‘ridiculous.’
The timing of a Wembley Stadium showdown will remain an issue in the discussions, however.
Hearn would still like to buy time for Joshua to add the WBO heavyweight belt to his collecton by fighting New Zealand’s Joseph Parker in the spring of next year, thus moving Wilder back to next summer.
Both Joshua and Parker are unbeaten, having knocked out every opponent who has faced them in their professional career.
Hearn is in New York in readiness for his first Matchroom promotion in the US, this Saturday’s light-heavyweight fight between his new charge, Daniel Jacobs, against Luis Arias.