Anthony Joshua urges Deontay Wilder to be ‘realistic’ in fight negotiations

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Anthony Joshua has told Deontay Wilder to “stop living the fantasy” and accept who would be the bigger draw in any potential title unification fight.

A clash between Joshua, Britain’s IBF and WBA heavyweight champion, and WBC belt-holder Wilder for the undisputed world title would be one of the biggest bouts in world boxing.

Yet verbal blows between the pair via the media aside, there has been no serious negotiations between either fighter’s camp.

Joshua first has to get past WBO champion Joseph Parker in another unification fight in Cardiff a week on Saturday but there is little doubt which fight is being eyed next.

And Joshua hopes Wilder recognises that he is a greater attraction in the UK than the American is in the US and agrees to cross the Atlantic for what would be a big showcase occasion.

Joshua said: “If he was serious about the fight, we’d do serious negotiation. If not, (he should) stop hooting and hollering because we’ll just freeze him out.

“We’re in a position where I’ve still got great top-10 challengers I can compete with. He’s in a position where the broadcasters ain’t interested in (him fighting) Joe Bloggs anymore.

“I know where I am going with my career. If he wants to be a part of this and jump on the train and come to the UK, he has to be realistic and stop living the fantasy. That is all we are saying, be realistic in negotiations.

“What we’ve got to offer is going to be 10 times more in terms of financials – because that’s what it comes down to – than he’s looking at in America.

“If he offered me 10 times more money to fight than what I am looking at in the UK, I would go there to fight him. But he is coming here. We are doing the offering, he hasn’t offered us. Take it or leave it.”

Wilder is expected to be at the Principality Stadium as Joshua takes on Parker in front of an expected crowd of 78,000.

“I’d love to sit down and talk with him,” said promoter Eddie Hearn, who would consider the possibility of a two-fight deal with Wilder, with bouts in both countries.

“There’s a lot of bluster with Deontay but he’s not an idiot. He knows what he’s doing and he’s doing a good job in attracting people to fights, but I think this fight will be made a lot quicker than people think. I believe it will be in 2018. We’ll either fight once more in the interim or go straight to Wilder.”

Joshua’s immediate concern is Parker, an unbeaten professional of 24 fights. After some debate over his weight, Joshua has confirmed he intends to tip the scales lighter than for previous fights at “112kg max”, or 17st 8lbs. He weighed in at a career-high 18st 2lbs for his last fight against Carlos Takam in October.

Joshua, who has not lost in 20 bouts, said: “Your size does cope with impact, with more robustness you can take a lot more.

“In terms of Parker, I’m not saying he can’t punch if I come in lighter, but I should be a lot quicker and outwit him.”

– Sky Sports Box Office will exclusively show the Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker unification fight on 31 March. Available to buy now at www.sky.com/orderboxoffice.

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