Deontay Wilder believes Eddie Hearn was desperate for a contingency plan ahead of his charge Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title rematch with Oleksandr Uysk last Saturday in Saudi Arabia. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
The former heavyweight titlist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, thinks that is why Hearn, the head of Matchroom Boxing, once again reached out to him and his team about fighting Joshua before Joshua got in the ring with Usyk. Joshua, in the end, failed to wrest back his WBO, WBA, and IBF titles from Ukraine’s Usyk, losing by split decision.
Wilder and Joshua were famously involved in preliminary talks about facing each other about four or five years ago but they ultimately went nowhere.
Shortly after Joshua’s loss, Wilder tweeted out what seemed like a cryptic but pointed message at Joshua and Co.
“They tried to lock me in for insurance because they knew he wasn’t going to Win,” Wilder wrote. “This is strictly a business. Not a sport there’s a different (sic).”
Wilder was, in fact, referring to how Hearn had attempted to broker a fight between him and Joshua even before the Usyk rematch.
Hearn had indicated in an interview with SecondsOut during Usyk-Joshua fight week that he had attempted to contacted Shelly Finkel, the longtime co-manager of Wilder, about making a fight between Wilder and Joshua.
“I actually reached out to Shelly Finkel the other day,” Hearn said. “Because I have got so much money for Deontay Wilder in an offer, but they never came back to me. So I don’t know whether Deontay Wilder doesn’t wanna hear about that offer or whatever. But, right now, as I stand here, I’m honestly not thinking about any other fight for AJ than Saturday night. They will all come through victory. I think if he [AJ] loses, the Wilder fight is there. If he wins, all he’s thinking about is that final fight with Fury to win all the belts.”
In a recent interview, Wilder expanded on his tweet, saying that Hearn simply wanted him as some kind of collateral in case Joshua lost and that it reflected poorly on the promoter’s confidence in his charge.
Moreover, Wilder said Hearn had reached out only after he had finalized an agreement to face Robert Helenius on Oct. 15 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The fight will be the first time Wilder has entered the ring in a year, since his knockout loss to Tyson Fury in their WBC heavyweight title bout.
“Eddie Hearn coming to us after everything is over with my fight and stuff like that, talking about offering a deal,” Wilder explained to ESNews.com. “And my thing was, we’re busy. For me, it was easy to see what was going on. Boxing is solely a business, not a sport…It’s strictly a business. You understand what I’m saying? It’s strictly business. I have a lot of stories. With briefcases being thrown.
“He was trying to contact us for reassurance. All of a sudden you wanted to make a fight because even yourself don’t have confidence in your own fighter that he was going to win. For me he was just trying to make a deal to insure that he can lock something in. But the thing about it, when you lose, that price goes up. You know what I mean? You ain’t gonna get a solid deal, locked in.”