Anthony Joshua should consider waiting 12 months before fighting Deontay Wilder in a world heavyweight title unification fight, according to Barry Hearn, chairman of Matchroom Sports, Joshua’s promoter.
However, veteran promoter Hearn will stay out of the decision-making process, he promised, when he meets WBO, IBF, IBO and WBA champion Joshua on Tuesday for talks about the next steps in his career.
Hearn has put his son Eddie in charge of guiding Joshua’s career, but he still takes a view of what would be the smartest next step.
Wilder, who holds the WBC version of the title, last month made the unusual move of emailing Joshua directly to insist his backers had the money – worth
£35.9 million [$50 million] – for a bout which could take place later this year.
Hearn junior explained that he still required plenty of assurances before committing to any deal.
However, his father mentioned the possibility of Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground hosting a future Joshua fight, saying: “It’s possible.
“I have a meeting with Anthony Joshua on Tuesday with Eddie, before Eddie goes off to New York.
“The decision is numbers – it’s a numbers game and it’s nothing to do with boxing. It’s purely to do with ‘that’s what you get if you fight Alexander Povetkin, that’s what you get if you fight Jarrell Miller, that’s what you get if you fight Deontay Wilder in England, that’s what you get if you fight Deontay Wilder in America. And I don’t fight, so it’s your call because you’re the guv’nor, you’re running heavyweight boxing.’
“The Deontay Wilder fight, if I was Anthony Joshua, I’d be leaving that for a little while.
“Not because I’m worried about Deontay Wilder but at this moment in time maybe I’m looking at 500,000 to 600,000 pay-per-view buyers. In a year, done properly I might be looking at two million, two and a half million pay-per-view buyers.”
Joshua has said he is “95 percent” certain to fight American Wilder this year, but a deal has yet to be agreed.
Barry Hearn said: “I said to Anthony: ‘If you had six months to live I would say go and fight Deontay Wilder, take the most money, but if you’re saying to me that you’ve got a legacy plan then I’m saying let’s capitalise on it properly.’
“That’s his decision and his team’s, because I don’t do the boxing. But it’s a credible way of doing business. If you start letting the fans be the matchmaker you’ll end up being skint.
“When you talk about Anthony Joshua, I believe he’s planning another eight years at the top.
“So if he is, and he takes that view, the only thing that can derail him is getting beaten. That fear of getting beaten is what pushes him in the gym every day.
“The reason our meeting is starting at two o’clock tomorrow is so that he can fit a gym session in in the morning. While he’s got that attitude I don’t have a worry about anyone beating Anthony Joshua.
“I just have the worry over whether I’m getting the maximum amount of money for my client, because that’s my job. His job is knocking people out.”