London (AFP) – Deontay Wilder is ready to travel across the Atlantic to face Britain’s Anthony Joshua in a bout to determine the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, the American’s co-manager said Monday.
Joshua called out Wilder immediately after a 12-round points win over New Zealand’s Joseph Parker in Cardiff on Saturday that saw him add the World Boxing Organisation belt to the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association titles he already held.
That win, his first professional success that did not come by way of knockout, saw London 2012 gold medallist Joshua extend his unbeaten record in the paid ranks to 21 wins from as many bouts.
But that still leaves World Boxing Council champion Wilder, unbeaten in 40 professional contests.
Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, insisted after the Parker fight that Wilder’s camp “don’t want” a unification bout.
But Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s co-manager, told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper on Monday: “We are really glad that Anthony Joshua said for the first time ‘I will fight Deontay next…’ and we believe he is a man of his word. Deontay accepts the challenge.
“We want to make it public that Deontay wants the fight… Deontay is ready to sign and come to the UK to fight this summer.”
Finkel said he would be prepared for the fight to go ahead at London’s 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium.
“Assuming it will be Wembley Stadium in the summer, we are ready, and if they are ready as they say they are, we want to get it done. We want the fight, they want the fight, the public wants the fight. There is nothing to stop it going ahead.”
Finkel, a veteran of the boxing scene, added: “When I had (Mike) Tyson and (Evander) Holyfield, I picked up the phone. That’s all we need to do here.
“We are ready. Let’s make the fight.”
Hearn, speaking after Joshua’s unanimous points defeat of Parker, said: “I will present the deal to Anthony but it has to be the right deal.
“It’s not really about Wilder, it is about us. We will sit down over the next couple of weeks and plan out the rest of 2018. It’s his (Joshua’s) call on how many times he wants to fight this year.”