Anthony Joshua giving Deontay Wilder 'an opportunity' to 'live the dream', says Barry Hearn
By James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 30/06/18 7:13am
Deontay Wilder feels "jealousy" towards Anthony Joshua, claims Barry Hearn, who has reiterated that a deal could be salvaged.
IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Joshua is now likely to fulfil his obligation to face mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin because an agreement has not been reached with WBC holder Wilder for an undisputed title fight, although talks continue to stage that bout next year.
"There is a contract on [Wilder's] people's desk which says: April 13, 2019, Wembley Stadium," Matchroom chairman Hearn told Sky Sports News. "The contract encapsulates all the terms that you agreed.
We appreciate Wilder isn't making any money. He probably looks at Joshua with a good degree of jealousy.
"There's only one thing that you've got to do - sign the contract.
"Boxing hadn't gone anywhere for 10 years but suddenly it is as hot as hell - it is a sexy sport. We need to keep coming up with big fights, and there's nothing bigger than Anthony Joshua.
"We appreciate Wilder isn't making any money. He probably looks at Joshua with a good degree of jealousy.
"'I'm the biggest name in America but I'm earning less than a tenth of what Anthony earns per fight'.
"Wilder has something in front of him where he can plan his future. He can earn five or six times more than he's ever earned in his life.
"And if he's good enough, he's got all the cookies. Unbelievable! He will be massive.
"There's one obstacle: Anthony Joshua."
Unbeaten American Wilder reacted angrily via social media this week at the breakdown in talks to fight Joshua.
"Don't give me any rubbish," Hearn continued. "You either want the fight or you don't want the fight.
"AJ is giving you the opportunity. Paying you $15m to live the dream and find out how good you are.
"We are committed. We've got Wembley booked. And if it's not Wilder, it's got to be someone else…"
Meanwhile, Povetkin, a 2004 Olympic gold medallist for Russia, is preparing to become Joshua's next challenger.
"We are very close and we plan to finalise the deal very soon," Povetkin's promoter Andrey Ryabinskiy told Sky Sports this week.
Povetkin brutally defeated David Price on the undercard to Joshua vs Joseph Parker, and his only career loss was in 2013 to Wladimir Klitschko.
"AJ has a tough fight against Povetkin," Hearn added. "You saw what he did against David Price, he has fast hands and is as tough as boots.
"Klitschko gave him a beating but [Povetkin] didn't take a backwards step. It's a tough fight and AJ mustn't overlook that."