Thursday 29 March 2018 07:12, UK
Deontay Wilder has been told to fight Dillian Whyte before Anthony Joshua, by promoter Eddie Hearn.
WBC heavyweight champion Wilder holds the only belt not up for grabs in Joshua's world title unification fight with Joseph Parker this Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
A 2018 bout for all four major titles is still Hearn's goal, he said to Sky Sports on Wednesday, but not before Whyte receives his shot at Wilder's belt.
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Joshua could box in the interim, then still fight in November or December. So Whyte vs Wilder wouldn't alter [Joshua vs Wilder].
"Wilder doesn't want to fight Whyte because it's risky, and he could make more money fighting Joshua," Hearn told Sky Sports. "But if Wilder goes straight into the Joshua fight, it doesn't happen until October, November, December.
"Joshua could box in the interim, then still fight in November or December. So Whyte vs Wilder wouldn't alter [Joshua vs Wilder].
"If Wilder can't win, Whyte would fight Joshua in an undisputed title fight. Anthony was really impressed with Dillian's performance last week."
Wilder, who has yet to formally reply to the offer of a newly-improved deal by Hearn to defend his gold against Whyte, told Boxing Scene overnight: "They put Joshua on the end of that contract [to fight Whyte], it's a fight."
Whyte knocked out Lucas Browne last weekend, a month after Wilder's seventh successful title defence against Luis Ortiz, but the heavyweight landscape is awaiting the result of Joshua-Parker.
"Wilder should understand that if he fights Whyte now, he'll get a rematch clause. If he fights Whyte as a mandatory, he won't," Hearn said. "It makes sense for Wilder to box him now.
"The mandatory hasn't been called yet. They may make [Whyte] fight a final eliminator or they may make him mandatory. It's their discretion."
IBF and WBA champion Joshua has refused to take his eyes off his immediate target, WBO titlist Parker, who he met at Wednesday's public work-outs.
Joshua said: "I'm hearing that all you need is a good chin and a right hand. We've been working on technique, finesse and counter punching.
"I hope Parker falls into my booby traps because I will set them up with some power traps as well. There'll be a bit of a war.
"You'll see blood, sweat and hopefully cheers from my corner."