Heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder has agreed to the terms offered by Anthony Joshua’s camp for them to meet for the undisputed title later this year in Joshua’s home country of the United Kingdom, Wilder co-manager Shelly Finkel told ESPN on Monday.
Whether the fight, easily one of the biggest in boxing, gets signed remains to be seen, but the Wilder camp said they’ve agreed to the terms in the latest offer made by Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing.
“We have agreed to the terms that Eddie has put out to us for a fight in the U.K. Deontay has accepted his terms to fight in the U.K.,” Finkel said. “Deontay sent an email to Joshua [Sunday] night, and I sent one [Monday] to Barry Hearn and Eddie telling them that we officially accept the offer to fight under the terms they gave us and to send us the contract.”
Hearn did not respond to text messages from ESPN seeking comment, but it was late at night in England at the time.
The key hang-up in the talks has been where they would fight. Joshua is a massive star in the United Kingdom, where he has drawn sellout crowds for his past three fights: 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in London and 78,000 for his past two fights at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. He insisted on having the fight there, even if the overall revenue for the event could be greater in Las Vegas.
The Wilder camp held out hope of him agreeing to come to the United States, but on Sunday night, Wilder and his team said they notified Eddie Hearn and his father, company boss Barry Hearn, that they had accepted the terms offered to them.
“Now we will see if they live up to it or if they try to go through with the fight with [mandatory challenger Alexander] Povetkin first. Hopefully, we’ll get an answer in the next couple days,” Finkel said. “If they change their mind, the $50 million [against 50 percent of the event] we offered them [to come to the United States] is still on the table. That is still for them if they want it.”
Finkel, who said he and Wilder co-manager Al Haymon talk daily and are on the same page, said the offer Wilder accepted is a two-fight deal with terms agreed to for a rematch that would take place in the United States.
For the fight they said they agreed to for later this year, Finkel said the target date is Sept. 15, but the fight could be in October or November because Sept. 15 is the proposed date for the rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, which they would not compete with.
Although Finkel wouldn’t specify how much money Wilder would earn, Hearn has made two previous offers of $12.5 million and $15 million. Finkel said they accepted a guaranteed purse but did not get a percentage of the overall event that they wanted, meaning Wilder was likely offered a large enough guarantee above $15 million to make it worthwhile to forgo a percentage.
“There’s no [percentage] split, but they’ve offered us a good purse. Not as good as we feel it should be, but we want the fight, and we’re willing to take what they offered,” Finkel said. “We wanted a percentage, but we didn’t think we could get it done in a quick time frame, so we said let’s take what they’ve offered us. Deontay wants this fight.”
Wilder addressed Joshua’s fans on social media on Monday, writing, “The $50M offer for him to fight me next in the U.S. is still available. Today I even agreed to their offer to fight Joshua next in the UK. If he prefers the fight in the UK, the ball is in their court. It’s up to them to choose.”
While Joshua’s fights are televised on Sky Box Office pay-per-view in the United Kingdom, his contract with Showtime expired following his March 31 title unification win over Joseph Parker, so a Joshua-Wilder fight could go to the highest bidder in the U.S.
“The U.S. TV is Eddie’s call,” Finkel said. “We have a preference for Showtime because we’ve been with them.”
Another possible outlet is the Perform Group’s DAZN sports streaming service, which is due to launch in the U.S. later this summer, with Hearn’s recently agreed to eight-year, $1 billion deal to provide boxing content due to begin in September. A Joshua-Wilder fight on the service would raise its currently nonexistent American profile, but it would also limit the U.S. revenue for the bout.
Hearn has said that he is also close to a deal with Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs), 38, of Russia, Joshua could fight both this year, and they were trying to figure out which order to do the fights, though Povetkin would be a risky fight before taking on Wilder for far more money.
The 28-year-old Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) won a world title in 2016 and has made five defenses, including a 10th-round knockout of former longtime unified world champion Wladimir Klitschko in the consensus 2017 fight of the year and unifying three belts with the win against Parker on March 31. Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs), 32, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, won his belt in 2015 and has made seven title defenses, including scoring a massive 10th-round knockout of then-unbeaten top contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz in a riveting fight on March 3 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook posted odds on the potential fight back in early April. Currently, Joshua is a -200 favorite and Wilder a +170 underdog.
Article courtesy of ESPN