In a halting Holy Saturday slog, Anthony Joshua went the distance defeating Joseph Parker to unify four of the five heavyweight belts. Parker, the reigning WBO champion, was simply no match for a lighter, more athletic Joshua, as the Brit dominated a unanimous decision and add one more belt to his IBF, IBO and WBA collection.
That is very good news for fight fans and Alabama homers.
Joshua’s team is on record that, following the Parker bout, WBC Champion Deontay Wilder would be next. And, why not? A victory by Joshua would set the stage for something special, indeed unprecedented:
“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,” Finkel told the Telegraph.
“We want to make it public that Deontay wants the fight, and we are prepared to come over, or meet here and get the deal done. Deontay is ready to sign and come to the UK to fight this summer.”
Only the WBC champion Wilder, who is undefeated in 40 contests, stands in the way of the Briton unifying all the division’s belts for the first time in history.
Lost in this talk of Joshua unifying the belts is that an improbable victory by the Bronze Bomber would likewise make Wilder a legend and turn little ole’ Northport, Alabama into the epicenter of the heavyweight universe.
And, make no mistake, Wilder’s camp wants this fight so very badly. His group began the stirrings of a discussion about a potential matchup as early as two years ago. On Wilder’s part, he is signaling that he’s true to his word to make this happen: He’ll fight Joshua anywhere (presumably at AJ’s home venue, the venerable Wembley), and he’ll let the four-belt home favorite keep the bulk of the purse:
Deontay Wilder is so desperate to fight Anthony Joshua that he will let the Briton have home advantage, as well as the bulk of the profits.
WBC heavyweight champion Wilder, a feared power puncher who is unbeaten in 40 bouts, will accept a “60/40 split of the fight purse” and is willing to travel to Wembley Stadium in London just to get the fight done, according to Telegraph Sport.
The good news for fight fans is that concessions by Wilder’s camp, and the clamor for this fight, seems to have driven the money behind making this happen. So much so that before the Parker bout even happened, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn very publicly said that Wilder would be next, with this summer hosting the mega-fight.
We’ll have more on this as it develops. But, there’s a really good chance we do see these two tussle in a few months. Wilder is flexible with his travel, his stake in the purse, and is eager to prove that he’s not just a power puncher with a string of beat downs against soup cans. The money may never be better either, as former champ Evander Holyfield notes.
And, at the end of the day, that will be what leads the two champions on a collision course in London.