WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua defends his titles against Andy Ruiz Jr. tonight, and WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder recently announced rematches with Luis Ortiz and Tyson Fury. But it all means we’re likely still far from seeing a highly-anticipated, and demanded, undisputed title fight between Joshua and Wilder.
Joshua appears to have accepted that until he and Wilder fight one another, they will each be swarmed with questions about the possibility of the fight. During a recent appearance on ESPN’s First Take, Wilder claimed he has tried to fight Joshua five times and that the heavyweight champ from Britain is the one to blame for the undisputed title fight’s failed, stalling negotiations.
Joshua, in his own appearance on First Take earlier this week, refuted those claims.
“Why sit here and talk more about it when we can settle it up in the ring?” Joshua said. “Deontay Wilder, when you’re ready come see, Don’t come through your promoters and managers. Come see me. Let’s prove who is the man of the division.”
After each man had their own win in March 2018, negotiations were in place for the two to finally meet and things looked like there would be a fight. But problems over small details in the contract, along with a ruling from the WBA that Joshua must defend against then-mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin or else be stripped of their title, soiled those plans.
Negotiations were attempted again earlier this year with Wilder receive a major four-fight offer from DAZN worth at least $100 million. This would have guaranteed Wilder two fights with Joshua, but he turned it down.
“In their whole careers, [Wilder and Fury] have been fighting cab drivers and bin men. And they now realize ‘there’s this young kid coming up, four years after us and he’s doing this at a quicker pace, so we need to step our game up,'” Joshua said. “Ortiz, we offered Ortiz the [June 1] fight. So how can someone say I don’t want to fight these guys when I’ve made them four-plus solid contractual [offers.]?
If they want to fight, the ring is there, the contract is there, and I’m here looking to defend my titles. What more can I say?
“You can’t say that I’m not [trying to fight] these guys if I’m offering them fights and they turn them down. I know what’s real, I know what’s facts. The offers have been made. I’m here. Opinions are opinions.”
Original Story: Boxing Scene