‘Clock is ticking’ for AJ-Wilder

Negotiations for Anthony Joshua’s huge unification fight with Deontay Wilder are progressing, but must be “accelerated”, says Matchroom chairman Barry Hearn.

Talks are ongoing for Joshua to face Wilder next, with all of the world heavyweight belts at stake, although the British star has also been ordered by the WBA to make a mandatory title defence against Alexander Povetkin.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn held a meeting with Povetkin’s backer this week and his father Barry admits discussions for the Wilder fight need to proceed at a quicker pace as they seek to solve other issues, including a possible venue for the bumper bout.

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“Joshua really is up for being the unified champion of the world, but inevitably the devil is in the detail,” Hearn told Sky Sports. “There are questions that we are in the process of answering. We’ve asked some and to be fair to the other side, they’ve come back with answers.

“We are still talking and we’re about to answer some more detailed questions, and who knows? I never in boxing believe any deal is done until the contract is actually signed.

“We are making progress, Joshua is – as always – an integral part of the decision making process, because he’s the one that does the fighting, but it’s a fight he likes and it’s a fight we like.

“We’re still a long way to go in terms of detail, but that long way has to be accelerated to get an answer in the next few days or a week’s time, simply because we are going to be put under pressure by the WBA: ‘Are you fighting Povetkin for the mandatory?’

“We’re being put under pressure because we have a couple of stadium venues saying: ‘Do you really want us? Here’s a contract to sign’.”

An initial offer of $50m by Wilder was not accepted by Joshua as his team have sought more details about the deal, and Hearn insists he is capable of delivering a big purse himself for the American champion.

“We need to have a certain amount of control,” said Hearn. “We need assurances on certain things, and we need contracts in place, and we need the money up front, guaranteed.

“I’ve heard a lot of people talk about money in boxing. When we talk about money, we back it up.

“If Wilder wants to come to the UK, I’ll deposit his entire purse in advance to any bank he wants, and it takes me about five minutes. I expect the same honesty on the other side, and maybe, hopefully, that is available.

“But there are lots of small details, which at the last minute, each one of them could be a deal breaker. We’re not going to tell you we’re close, I’m saying we’re on the way, but the clock is ticking and we have to move.”

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