If it’s up to heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, he’ll be fighting the winner of the Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko fight in his next fight rather than having to wait until the winner faces their IBF or WBA mandatory challengers.
Wilder sees a unification fight against Wladimir or Joshua as a huge fight, and a great one for the boxing fans to see. In Wilder’s mind, him fighting the winner of the April 29th Joshua vs. Klitschko fight will help the sport of boxing.
Joshua and Klitschko will be going at it in front of what is expected to be a large crowd of 80K fans at Wembley Stadium in London, UK. The fight will be televised on Sky Box Office PPV in the UK. There’s a great demand for the fight, as it’s a European clash between heavyweights. In contrast, there’s much less interest from the boxing fans in the U.S for the Joshua vs. Klitschko fight.
Klitschko never really caught on with his fights that were televised in the U.S, due to habit of holding a lot, and fighting a highly technical manner. Joshua hasn’t won over the U.S fans as of yet, because the only fights that have been televised in the U.S were mismatches against Eric Molina and Dominic Breazeale. the boxing fans could obviously spot a mismatch from a mile away, so they didn’t get excited about the fight.
Wilder said this to ESPN.com about wanting to fight the winner of the Joshua vs. Klitschko fight:
“If Klitschko beats Joshua, the next big thing is Klitschko vs. Wilder,” said Deontay. “If Joshua beats Klitschko, the next big thing is Joshua vs. Wilder,” Wilder said. “Either one, I am ready. I really believe I am the best in the world.”
It’s true that Wilder vs. the winner of the Joshua vs. Klitschko fight will be a big one in the U.S and elsewhere. I’m not sure that it’s going to be allowed to happen right away without cooperation from the IBF and WBA. They need to let the Joshua-Klitschko fight Wilder straightaway rather than forcing them to face their mandatory challengers. The IBF wants the Joshua v Klitschko winner to face mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. For their part, the WBA has ordered the winner of that fight to face Luis Ortiz. I’m sure that’s not something that Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn wants him to do, because he might lose that fight.
Wilder will be defending his WBC heavyweight title against Andrzej Wawrzyk (33-1, 19 KOs) on February 25 at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. This is Wilder’s first fight since injuring his right arm in his win over Chris Arreola earlier this year.