Deontay Wilder vaporized Bermane Stiverne in one round on Saturday before a crowd of 10,924 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in his sixth successful defense of his WBC heavyweight title and has his eyes set on Anthony Joshua.
Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, of Matchroom Sport, is trying to pitch a fight between Wilder and WBC Silver champion Dillian Whyte as they negotiate a potential unification bout with WBO titleholder Joseph Parker.
But Wilder laughed off talk of a fight with Whyte and only wants Joshua, who defended his IBF/IBO/WBA belts with a 10th-round stoppage of Carlos Takam in Cardiff on Oct. 28.
“Kings don’t chase peasants. They trying to give me the peasant without the king on the contract. I want Joshua,” Wilder said after the fight. “Joshua, come and see me, baby. No more ducking, no more hiding, no more excuses. Let’s make the fight happen.”
Joshua also wants the Wilder fight to take place, but he also reminded fans that being a champion comes with responsibilities.
“It has to happen. It has to happen for sure,” Joshua said of potentially facing Wilder. “When it comes down to it, the IBF, IBO, and WBA have mandatory challengers. I can’t just fight any Joe Blow I want. I have to fight the obligations as champion, and once I fulfill those, my door is open to fight anyone, be it Wilder or anyone else.”
As usual, when it comes to fights of this magnitude, it’s not the fighters, it’s the promoters. Or in this case – Wilder’s.
Lou DiBella erupted when asked why Wilder won’t fight Whyte.
“With all due respect dude, no one in this country knows who Dillian Whyte is,” he stated following the fight. “I don’t give a (expletive) about what Eddie [Hearn] has to say. We don’t have to go to England to fight someone cause Eddie Hearn says so.
“I know Eddie Hearn has a lot of bread, and he grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth, but it doesn’t mean we got to march to his marching orders. He doesn’t control boxing, and he doesn’t set mandatories.”
The fact of the matter is that Wilder (39-0, 38 KO’s), 32, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, still hasn’t had that signature bout that would capture the public’s imagination despite his colossal punching power, underrated boxing skills, and impressive record.
Joshua (20-0, 20 KO’s), 28, of the United Kingdom, a 2012 London Olympic gold medalist, has done what Wilder has yet to accomplish. He knocked out future Hall of Famer Wladimir Klitschko in a bout that could win 2017 Fight of the Year honors.
Furthermore, the bout sold 90,000 tickets, and Joshua’s fight last week a replacement opponent in Carlos Takam, was in front of nearly 80,000 fans.
In the ring, it’s a 50-50 fight. You have two warriors with balky chins and massive punching power. But we all know that boxing is so much more than fighting, it’s business, and Joshua is undoubtedly the A-side and should dictate the terms.
Joshua-Wilder must happen, but it won’t until everyone involved sorts out their egos.