By: Sean Crose
After winning back his belts from Andy Ruiz in impressive fashion last December in Saudi Arabia, Anthony Joshua found himself back at the top of the heavyweight division. He’s got company up there, however, and promoter Eddie Hearn has indicated Joshua is ready to prove who the best man truly is. Along with Joshua, American Deontay Wilder and Englishman Tyson Fury are considered the top dogs at heavyweight. Wilder and Fury will be rematching next month for Wilder’s WBC and Fury’s (claimed) lineal heavyweight titles. Hearn pointed out that he wants Joshua to face the winner.
“You have new players in town,” Hearn recently told Sky Sports, “that are willing to spend money never seen before in the sport. It’s there.” Hearn was clearly referring the Saudi Arabian government, which hosted Joshua’s December rematch with Ruiz. “We’ve had the conversations,” said Hearn. “We did it once in December. I know the money they’re willing to put into this fight at the backend of the year.” Although Wilder and Fury are about to fight for the second time, there has been difficulty getting either man a Joshua fight. One side blames the other in these scenarios, but Hearn argued it’s time to get a match with either fighter done.
“There’s just too much money,” Hearn stated. “There comes a time in the sport where money talks too much.” In other words, Hearn feels there will be no reason in the world Joshua can’t face the winner of Wilder-Fury 2. “We’re at the stage now where even if the other guys didn’t want it, they can’t ignore the numbers.” Although Joshua has yet to fight Wilder or Fury, Hearn feels that a battle between Joshua and either man would be even bigger than it previously would have been. “Everybody’s lucky that the numbers we were talking about a year ago have doubled, tripled,” he said.
Fans would obviously love to see one fighter emerge as the king of the heavyweight division. The problem, as is generally always the case in modern boxing, is politics. Joshua, Fury, and Wilder are represented by separate managers, and appear on separate networks. Throw in the egos that abound in boxing and things are apt to become even more complicated. With Wilder and Fury about to fight in front of a PPV broadcast shared by ESPN and Fox, however, there’s some indication that icy relationships can thaw under the right circumstances – at least temporarily.
“Don’t be greedy,” said Hearn “You’ve spun it up on that roulette wheel, now take your chips and leave.”