Deontay Wilder’s decision to rebuff the $100million TV deal from DAZN is the latest ploy to circumvent a potential clash with Anthony Joshua, according to Barry Hearn.
The WBC champion confirmed on Tuesday he has turned down the lucrative offer – which included two unification fights against Joshua – tendered by the DAZN digital streaming channel in favour of remaining faithful with American television company Showtime who have ushered his 41-fight career thus far.
The move from Wilder, who is pencilled in to defend his world title against mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale in New York’s Barclays Center on May 18, subsequently squashes any prospect of him facing Joshua this year while a rematch against Tyson Fury also looks unlikely at this stage
Head of Matchroom Sport, Hearn, insisted Wilder has no serious intentions to face unified champion Joshua, saying on Tuesday: ‘Wilder rejecting this deal shows what he is thinking. Luckily the boxing fans today are smart enough to see that he doesn’t want to get in the ring with Anthony Joshua.
‘Nobody does and that’s the problem. He can say anything he wants but it’s obvious to everyone now that this is not coming from our side. Wilder has signed up with Showtime and that makes this fight so much harder to make.
‘We made this offer to try and make it easier but there you go. It’s a shame because Eddie [Hearn] has been pushing so hard to make the Wilder-Joshua fight but it just isn’t there.
‘Wilder has been offered $100m but he thinks he can earn good money fighting lesser opponents and then build up the purse to fight Joshua later down the line. Fury is the same, he doesn’t want to know. We made him an offer and he turned us down. Neither of them actually want to fight Joshua.’
Wilder was also offered $15m (£11.3m) for a Wembley Stadium spectacular against Joshua last year before talks broke down and he opted to face Fury which ended in an epic and contentious draw back in December.
The formidable triumvirate of the heavyweight division, comprised of Joshua, Wilder and Fury, appear further away from facing each more so now than ever before with matters complicated by the fact each fighter has aligned themselves with different networks.
Hearn fears that the current fragmented TV landscape could obstruct them from fighting each other for the foreseeable future. ‘These fights may never happen because you have got Wilder with Showtime, Fury with ESPN and Joshua with DAZN,’ he said.
‘They are all signed up to different television networks and that is a real issue from the promotional side of things. I just can’t see how these fights happen.
‘The problem is none of them want to get beat. No one is blinking. If they get beat everything is off the table. Even for Joshua. Fury is in the worst position because he doesn’t have a title so he has no pulling power and I think out of the three of them he is the most beatable.’
Hearn also revealed that his son Eddie is planning a US invasion with his Matchroom stable making an assault on America on two fronts over the coming months.
First, Anthony Crolla will look to shock the world by travelling across the pond to take on pound-for-pound star Vasyl Lomachenko before Joshua makes his transatlantic debut later on in the year when he defends his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO world titles against Jarrell Miller in New York on June 1.
Hearn added: ‘The market is so big over in the US, Eddie is looking to make more fights over there because there is so much money to be made from an American audience.
‘That’s why you have got Joshua going over there and Crolla going to fight Lomachenko which is a huge fight. The established fighters will probably be fighting more in the US. That is the plan short term anyway.
‘British boxing has lost so many big names recently with Tony Bellew and James DeGale retiring so it’s up to the likes of [Joshua] Buatsi and other young talents like that coming through to now go and fill that void by topping big shows in the UK. That is still our long-term plan, to make huge fights nights in Britain as well.’