Anthony Joshua has promised he will finally fight his long-time heavyweight rival Deontay Wilder in 2023.
The two hard-hitting heavyweights once held all the gold in the division, but have since lost their belts - and the subsequent rematches - to Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury respectively. However, fans are still keen to see the two knockout artists get into the ring together after years of debate over who would win.
And Joshua has excited viewers by claiming he will fight Wilder in 2023 during a recent video with GQ. The Brit is expected to make his comeback early next year, before likely rematching Dillian Whyte, after which it's possible that he could face Wilder, with the winner returning to contention for the undisputed title, which will have been decided between Fury and Usyk.
"All this 'what else is missing', let's look to the future," Joshua said when asked what had held up a fight between the pair previously. "That was the past, why it didn't happen. It will definitely happen, I always say 'we're in the same division, we're in the same era, that means the fight has to happen'. 2023 is looming, it's a big year for boxing. We're all at the top of our division and that fight will definitely happen and bring a lot of light to the heavyweight division."
It appears communication has recently opened up between the two teams, despite Wilder's promoters PBC having a bitter feud with Joshua's Matchroom Boxing and Eddie Hearn. Al Haymon, who runs PBC from a distance and is rarely spotted in public, is not a fan of the outspoken Brit and prefers not to work with him.
However, Hearn claims that Shelly Finkel, who is involved in the managing of Wilder's career, has been in touch over a potential super-fight between the two. Both Wilder and Joshua are known for their ferocious punching power, and despite their five losses in their last seven collective fights, there is still huge interest in the bout.
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“They actually emailed me today," Hearn told ID Boxing back in November during fight week for Dmitry Bivol vs Gilberto Ramirez in Abu Dhabi. "I emailed [Shelly Finkel] in August to talk about an offer. He came back today; it took a long while but at least he replied.
“That offer that we had for him was for this year, obviously, with our relationship out here [in the Middle East, where Matchroom have staged shows in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia], we’d like to continue that offer. I actually invited Deontay and Shelly out here this week. They can’t come but we’ll be working with them and try and come up with some ideas.
“Again, it all depends on AJ if he waits to go into a fight like that or if he has a fight earlier in the year. But I see AJ vs Deontay Wilder as a must-make fight I really do I think it’s one of the biggest in the sport. They just want to know the numbers. Of course, they should do as well because there’s a lot of money in play in the shows we do. I feel that we can hopefully have some discussions and see if AJ vs Wilder or Whyte against Wilder or whoever it is could be an option, particularly out here in the Middle East.”