Promoter Eddie Hearn says the heavyweight mega-fight between Anthony Joshua & Deontay Wilder is possible for the spring of 2024 if both win their fights on the ‘Day of Reckoning card on December 23rd in Saudi Arabia.
According to Hearn, the Saudis want the Joshua-Wilder fight, meaning that it will happen when they say so. If they want it in the Spring of 2024, that’s the way it’s going to be. They’ll be the decider.
Hearn has floated the idea of AJ & Wilder fighting seemingly for ages, and people have stopped paying attention. Boxing fans are growing tired of waiting for Joshua & Wilder to fight, and it’s not the match-up that it would have been if they’d fought while they were still unbeaten in the zenith of their careers.
It’s not a given that either of these aging heavyweights will win their fights on the huge card because they have struggled in recent years.
Joshua (26-3, 23 KOs) faces Otto Wallin (26-1, 14 KOs) in the twelve round main event at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh. If this were a fight that took place in 2016, it would be a near certainty that Joshua would win, but he’s looked like he’s not there mentally & physically since 2019.
Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs) is fighting former WBO champion Joseph Parker (33-3, 23 KOs) in the twelve round co-feature fight on the card. This is a 50-50 fight, as both guys can punch and are chinny.
Deontay, who just turned 38, will need to get to Parker early in this contest to have a chance of winning because he has much better power than Tyson Fury, and we saw what he did to Wilder, knocking him out twice.
Wilder vs. Joshua possible for Spring 2024
“They’ve [the Saudis] have made it clear.They want AJ against Wilder, and so does the world, and we will get there, I believe, but they both must win on December 23rd,” said Eddie Hearn to Fight Hub TV.
It’s important that the Saudis pull the trigger on the Joshua vs. Wilder fight soon because both of these guys are getting up there in age, and they could lose again if they don’t make the match-up happen.
What fans don’t want is for the two ex-heavyweight champions to have a huge pile of losses on their records, fighting in what would be the equivalent of an old timers type of match-up.
“Deontay has a pretty straight up and down opponent in Joseph Parker, who has definitely got himself together and is in a good place. If he can get into the fight early, he has a chance. He can get stopped early as anyone can against Deontay Wilder. But he’s a great fighter and a good guy as well,” said Hearn about Parker.
If Parker can get to Wilder’s chin early or late, it’s over with. Obviously, it would be better for Parker to get Wilder out as early as possible because the longer the contest lasts, the more likely he lands one of his big right hand bombs that ends the contest.
“I think Wallin is a tough fight for AJ. Six weeks out against a tall, gifted southpaw, who is coming off a really big win in Russia against Gassiev, who is full of confidence. AJ has to stamp his authority on that,” said Hearn.
“If they [Wilder & Joshua] can be victorious, then I do believe you’ll see that fight in the spring.
“The location. Six weeks out, it’s very difficult to fly to Texas, then fly a couple of timezones to the Middle East,” said Hearn when asked if Joshua has switched trainers from Derrick James to Ben Davison.
Joshua to be trained by Ben Davison
“He’s [Joshua] been training with Ben the last three or four weeks. Obviously, Derrick James has been aware of that situation, but just because of the time, he [Joshua] has decided to stay in the UK for this fight, because like I said. By the time you adjust to the time zones, it’s going to be too short of a period.”
Joshua would be better off being trained by Ben Davison because he needs a coach that can focus on protecting his weak chin, and keeping him on the move to prevent him from gassing. Fury was at his best when he had Davison training him.
Since moving over to Sugarhill Steward, Fury has taken a lot of punishment and turned into a simple mauler. Any two-bit, second-rate trainer could coach Fury on how to grapple and foul his opponent.
“It’s comfortable to train in the UK for this fight. Obviously, Ben was part of Tyson Fury’s team when he fought Otto Wallin, so he’s aware of the challenge, and AJ is in a good place, excited and ready to perform on December 23rd,” said Hearn.
“I’m not sure. They’re definitely going to be working together moving forward. It’s not a split,” said Hearn about whether Joshua will continue to work with Derrick James in the future. “It’s just time zones, training at home. For this one, it was the most effective and economical way to get it done.
“You got to give him respect. I don’t see him competing with either of those guys, but he did compete with Tyson Fury,” said Hearn when asked about how Francis Ngannou would do against Joshua & Wilder. “Was it an off night?
“Is Fury not the fighter that he was? You still got to give Ngannou credit. I don’t see that as a tough fight for Joshua or Wilder but give him his due. I thought he [Ngannou] won the fight [against Fury].
“Some people are complaining about him entering the top 10 [of the WBC’s rankings], but if you think he beat Tyson Fury, surely it’s a world-class performance. So, well done for Francis Ngannou. I think he should get back in the ring. He’s going to wait around. I don’t think he should do that.
“So, the danger is he could fight anybody and get beat, and that would be a disaster for him, obviously. I would like the AJ fight because I think it’s a straightforward fight, but styles make fights. Someone aggressive, someone with a high work rate, is going to cause him [Ngannou] a lot of problems because I felt he looked tired in that fight. The pace was a snail’s pace. Fury was letting him breathe at all moments.
“Going back to December 23rd, there’s a really exciting fight on the card. He’s not really my cup of tea sometimes, Jarrell Miller, but that fight against [Daniel] Dubois is a really intriguing fight because Dubois is a really huge puncher. If you can’t put a dent in Jarrell, who has a good chin, he’s the kind of guy who is going to slobber all over you and make you work.
“Jarrell Miller is a terrible fight for Francis Ngannou because he will make Ngannou gas after four or five rounds. Styles make fights, but hopefully, we can see Francis back in the ring,” said Hearn.