NEW YORK, USA – Eddie Hearn, the British promoter who is in New York ahead of his first live promotion in the United States, said he’ll meet with American boxing super broker Al Haymon on Thursday, November 9 to discuss making the heavyweight championship unification fight between IBF/WBA heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua and WBC claimant Deontay Wilder.
Talk of the fight reached new heights after Wilder (39-0, 38 knockouts) destroyed mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne in one round this past weekend in Brooklyn, a week after Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) trudged through an uneven performance to stop late replacement Carlos Takam in Wales. Wilder made an aggressive pitch afterwards for the summit fight to settle the dispute over who is the top big man in the sport today.
Hearn said he’s “100%” confident that the fight can be made for 2018, as long as they can reach terms that are mutually beneficial.
“I’m not gonna lie to you and say yes in March, I’m not sure about that. I think this fight’s gonna get bigger and bigger. If the right deal presents itself in March, we have no problem taking that fight,” Hearn, who is promoting the Danny Jacobs-Luis Arias card this Saturday at Nassau Coliseum on HBO, told Rappler.
Hearn also addressed the finances of that unification fight, pointing towards Wilder’s purse for the Stiverne rematch, reported to be $1.4 million, which he said is approximately what Takam made as the opponent against Joshua.
“Joshua’s making 8 to 9 times as much as Deontay Wilder, he’s a globally recognized brand with huge commercial partners. So if we offered Deontay his true value in the fight, negotiations would last about one minute,” said Hearn.
“So we have to overpay Deontay Wilder, we have to find some middle ground between reality and fantasy, and then I think we can make the fight.”
Hearn also addressed claims made by Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel, who said after Wilder-Stiverne that he had received an email from Hearn about 6 weeks prior offering a fight with Joshua if he could get through Dillian Whyte first. Finkel says they spoke on the phone and Hearn delayed the conversation because Kubrat Pulev, Joshua’s original opponent for October 28, pulled out with an injury.
“So the next day I said to him ‘what’s the deal?’ He said ‘what do you want to fight Dillian Whyte?’ I said ‘that’ll be made easy. When do we get Joshua?’ Never called me back,” said Finkel.
“First of all, the only person reaching about anything to do with Deontay Wilder is me. I made all the first discussions, yes he called me back at a time when the Pulev fight had just fallen out so I was a little bit busy at the time,” said Hearn.
“Wilder is talking about people running and all this; we’ve never even had discussions about the fight. So he’s doing what he’s doing trying to raise his profile using Joshua’s name, and he’s doing a great job. Deontay’s getting nice momentum here in the States, that fight has to happen in 2018. We’ll see what they say tomorrow.”
Hearn also responded to Finkel’s characterization of the drawing potential of both men. Finkel had said that, while there were many people at the Joshua’s last fight – an estimated 78,000 fans turned out to 10,924 for Wilder-Stiverne – that more money could be generated if a fight between the two was placed in Las Vegas.
“I saw his comments about Vegas can generate more in a gate. Yeah, if you price it a certain way. We like to be accessible to fight fans. When we priced the Klitschko fight, we could have doubled the prices and it would have still sold out, but that’s not always the answer,” said Hearn.
Joshua, 28, unified the IBF title with the WBA belt that was held by Wladimir Klitschko in a thriller this past April as the division took a step forward following the inactivity of unbeaten Tyson Fury, who has not fought since ending Klitschko’s reign two years ago amid substance abuse, mental health and licensing concerns.
Wilder, 32, has made 6 title defenses in his nearly 3-year reign as champion. – Rappler.com