Wilder won’t even pick up the phone – Hearn not hopeful of AJ bout

Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua

Eddie Hearn claims Deontay Wilder and his team have no interest in fighting Anthony Joshua and will not reply to his calls or e-mails.

Anthony Joshua’s prospects of landing an April date with Deontay Wilder are increasingly bleak after his promoter Eddie Hearn said the American “will not answer the phone”.

WBA ‘super’, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Joshua was hotly tipped for a lucrative unification bout against WBC strap holder Wilder last year before negotiations fell through.

Joshua instead stopped Alexander Povetkin in September, while Wilder held onto his belt after a contentious draw with Tyson Fury two months later.

Wilder is now expected to face Fury in a rematch and a frustrated Hearn criticised the ‘Bronze Bomber’ and his team after saying they will not enter into renewed talks.

“We can’t get any response at all from their team. In the last four or five weeks, I’ve sent five or six emails to Shelly Finkel [Wilder’s promoter]. They won’t even have the decency to come back,” he told Sky Sports.

“I think they’ve made their mind up – they don’t want to fight Anthony Joshua. It’s frustrating because I think we’re in a place where it’s a really great deal.

“Wilder has always said ‘one face, one name, one champion’, but the deal we’ve offered is more than a fair split for Wilder. And it’s two fights – one in the UK and one in the US.

“But he’s not even entertaining that fight. Wilder won’t even answer the phone, so that’s well out the window.”

Dillian Whyte has been tipped to fight Joshua instead in a rematch from their grudge bout in 2015, but Hearn said talks over that scrap have also proved difficult.

“We’ve had a great run with Dillian Whyte,” Hearn added.

“He wants a shot at the world heavyweight title. We’ve delivered that – he doesn’t feel like the package is right at the moment. I think it is a good offer.

“It was never going to be easy. But you get to a point where you say, ‘Dillian, this is your chance to fight for four heavyweight belts at Wembley for millions’. What more can we do?

“These kind of opportunities don’t come around that often. You’re going to own the keys to the kingdom if you can beat Anthony Joshua.”

Hearn also claimed to have offered Fury a 60-40 split in Joshua’s favour for a domestic showdown with his star man.

“I’ve spoken to Tyson and he asked me to make him an offer, which we did. There was talk about ‘did I offer him 60-40’ – yes, I did,” he said.

“He was world heavyweight champion – he’s not anymore. AJ is a bigger global star, but Fury deserves so much respect. 60-40 as a voluntary defence – this is a great deal.”

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