WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has agreed to terms to fight IBF, IBO, WBA, and WBO champion Anthony Joshua in a highly anticipated and exceedingly rare heavyweight unification bout, to be held in the United Kingdom, according to a report from ESPN’s Dan Rafael:
“We have agreed to the terms that [Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn] has put out to us for a fight in the U.K. Deontay has accepted his terms to fight in the U.K.,” [Wilder co-manager Shelly Finkel] said. “Deontay sent an email to Joshua [Sunday] night, and I sent one [Monday] to Barry Hearn and Eddie telling them that we officially accept the offer to fight under the terms they gave us and to send us the contract.”
Heavyweight boxing hasn’t had an undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis, way back in 2000. Joshua has unified four of the five main titles (boxing really does have sanctioning bodies bursting out of its greasy woodwork), with Wilder holding that elusive fifth belt. Wilder scored an impressive knockout of Luis Ortiz in a title defense back in March; Joshua claimed the WBO belt via a unanimous decision over Joseph Parker later in the month. The Joshua-Parker fight was billed as Road to Undisputed, with the inevitable final piece being a Wilder-Joshua mega-fight.
The only real hurdle to making this fight, which could wind up being the top-grossing heavyweight fight in history, was apparently location: Joshua is British, and has never fought in the United States as a professional; Deontay Wilder is American, and, per Rafael’s report, “held out hope” that Joshua would agree to hold the fight in Las Vegas, where revenue for the fight “could be greater.” From the looks of things, Wilder’s camp is still willing to offer a gargantuan sum to stage the fight stateside:
But with Wilder reportedly agreeing to hold the fight in the United Kingdom, pending Joshua’s decision on the $50 million, the location is no longer a sticking point, and it sounds like the only remaining detail to hammer out is the exact date—sometime between mid-September and the end of November, depending upon the timing of a potential Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez rematch. Whenever it happens, and whatever the eventual split, it has the makings of a monster.