Deontay Wilder battling Anthony Joshua in a mammoth heavyweight blockbuster continues to be dangled in front of fans.
According to several boxing figures, Wilder will finally get the chance to face Anthony Joshua after chasing a fight with his UK rival for several years.
If you believe that optimism, Wilder is on the verge of finally landing Joshua in a blockbuster clash in Saudi Arabia later this year.
However, reports that a deal is ‘almost signed’ evoked memories of a similar situation five years ago. At the time, World Boxing News was at the forefront of negotiations and in constant contact with Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel.
The New Yorker tried everything he could to get AJ in the ring with Wilder to make an undisputed battle between the pair. Sadly, Joshua’s team didn’t play ball.
Half a decade later, and both fighters passed their prime, the same old story of a money grab materializes. According to Wilder’s trainer Malik Scott, Saudi investors are willing to help finance a deal which has helped negotiations reach a critical point.
Deontay Wilder vs Anthony Joshua
“Without going into too much detail about the business aspect of it, everything’s been said, talked about, and negotiated,” Scott told Betway.
“Nothing’s been signed, but signing is almost upon us. The negotiations are happening. Moves are being made.
“The business aspect is being taken care of. Most of all, Deontay is being taken care of and will get paid very well for his services. That’s the most important part to me,” he added.
It’s a far cry from when Wilder offered Joshua $50 million to accept a Showtime Pay Per View battle for 2018. Despite saying that’s the exact amount it would take to agree, Joshua negated.
Ultimately, Joshua turned the tables on Wilder and wanted the American to come to his backyard in a $20 million counteroffer. Wilder accepted, and then further stalling took place.
At the culmination of several months, Joshua and his promoter accepted a WBA mandatory order for Alexander Povetkin without even attempting an exemption release.
As WBN reported solely then, the WBA would have granted any request if Joshua and Eddie Hearn had asked. They never did and agreed on a deal within days.
Wilder was left wondering why he’d wasted his time. UK reports later that Wilder had turned down the deal were falsified for their own narratives. There was only an aspect of the agreement [an added rematch clause for a draw from nowhere] that Wilder turned down. Two simple points in the contract could easily have been worked out if Joshua had responded.
They never did and walked straight into the safety of a clash with the aged Povetkin. Five years later, the pair look set to cash in on the failure.
Contract not signed
We’ve had this carrot dangled before, and as Finkel told WBN during discussions, it all fell apart.
“There’s no doubt in my mind they don’t want to fight with Deontay Wilder,” Finkel told World Boxing News exclusively.
“If they did, they wouldn’t have sent a contract with more impediments than the first time. They don’t even have their own lies together right now.
“Joshua said he’d send a signed contract that removed all impediments that he would sign it. But he does not even sign the contract – it’sEddie Hearn signs it.”
WBN can confirm we have a copy of an image of that 2018 contract. Joshua’s name does not appear.
Despite this, Finkel added: “Barry [Hearn] also sent a tweet out yesterday stating the contract was signed by ‘AJ,’ but it’s not. And, added to that, they have now put more blocks on the rematch clause than before.
“In the original contract for a fight in 2018, Deontay rejected it because the rematch clause was only in place for Joshua. They’ve added that a rematch won’t occur if it’s a draw.
“I mean, there has to be a rematch if there’s a draw. They don’t even have their own story straight!”
“The bottom line is, they don’t want to make the fight. They didn’t want to make it in September. And they don’t want to make it now – for April.
“If they did, they would have changed the things [Deontay wanted] like Joshua said they would.”
That rematch stipulation killed the fight, then. It also gave Joshua an angle to say Wilder rejected the deal, which he didn’t.
Hopefully, this time around, the fans will see which of the faded heavyweights will come out on top. Ironically, they are probably getting paid more now than they both would have back then.