The immediate future of former two-time unified heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua has seemingly been secured with bouts officially agreed upon with Dillian Whyte and former WBC world heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder respectively.
Firstly, Sky Sports have reported that Dillian Whyte has agreed to a contract proposal and returned the contract to Matchroom Boxing after removing a rematch clause in Joshua’s favour, which proved to be a sticking factor in the negotiations. Whyte initially refused to agree to any contract with the clause included, and Joshua has obliged to remove the clause from the proposed bout agreement.
The pair, who famously faced each other in a British heavyweight title shootout in 2015, are now set to meet at the O2 Arena, London, on August 12th. Whyte had been identified as a preferred opponent for Joshua by Eddie Hearn at the beginning of last month however was sceptical about a deal being made between the two parties due to Whyte’s purse demands which were reportedly in the region of $ 10 million.
However, significant progress has been undertaken from all parties involved in the last ten days following a radio interview from Dillian Whyte broadcast on Talksport in which he claimed that Hearn “had disappeared” but that he would be willing to accept the financial package involved if a rematch clause could be removed.
Rob Tebburt of Boxing News has further reported that a deal has been “virtually agreed in principle” for a proposed bout between Joshua and Deontay Wilder following an interview with Eddie Hearn from the Utilita Arena, Sheffield. The interview was conducted following Dalton Smith’s seventh-round knockout victory over Sam Maxwell, in which he retained his British super-lightweight title and captured Maxwell’s Commonwealth title in the process of victory.
Meetings had been undertaken on June 30th in London between Matchroom and Saudi-led promotional outfit Skills Challenge, who have been targeting a winter-time showdown in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia between Joshua and Wilder for a substantial number of months for a date set for December for the fight between the two former heavyweight world champions.
Hearn commenting on the proposed bout, stated, “ Our meetings with the Saudis on Friday (relationship and productivity), We’re in a great place with them. We virtually have a deal agreed in principle. Subject to a few other discussions on stuff. They’re staying here (Skill Challenge), and we are going to meet them again on Monday. I think we’re in a good place, but we (Joshua) want to fight on August 12th and that it is important in his momentum and development that he does.”