The long-awaited heavyweight superfight between the division's top two world champions appears to be a reality.
If and when the fight gets signed, unified WBA "super," WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will face WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in a historic unification bout later this year in the United Kingdom. According to ESPN, Shelly Finkel, Wilder's co-manager, said Wilder accepted the terms presented to him by Eddie Hearn, Joshua's promoter, after several weeks of back-and-forth negotiations.
The terms accepted by Wilder and Finkel is a two-fight deal that starts in the U.K. and then the rematch would take place in the United States. Even though terms have been agreed to, the fight has not been officially signed.
"We have agreed to the terms that Eddie has put out to us for a fight in the U.K. Deontay has accepted his terms to fight in the U.K. Deontay sent an email to Joshua (Sunday) night and I sent one today to [Matchroom Sport founder] 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," Finkel said told ESPN.
The news ends a vicious cycle of negotiations from both sides that saw the fight being in danger of not happening on multiple occasions. After Wilder was not satisfied with Eddie Hearn's initial offer, WBC champion offered a $50 million deal for Joshua to take. Responding to the news that the terms have been agreed to, Wilder posted a tweet saying that $50 million offer is still on the table but he's also accepted the terms to fight in the United Kingdom.
After Tyson Fury's WBA, IBF and WBO titles were either vacated or stripped as a result of his upset win over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, Joshua slowly won all of those titles starting with the IBF title in 2016. Joshua won the then-vacant WBA title when he defeated Klitschko in the 2017 Fightful Boxing Fight of the Year and then added the WBO title this past March when he won a unanimous decision over then-champion Joseph Parker.
Although the fight against Wilder was by far the most lucrative fight Joshua could take at the moment, Joshua and Eddie Hearn were deep in negotiations with Alexander Povetkin, the mandatory challenger to Joshua's WBA title, in case talks with Wilder fell through. The WBA ordered Joshua and Povetkin to fight weeks after Joshua's win over Parker. It remains to be seen if the WBA will take any action against Joshua for ignoring the order to fight Povetkin.
Wilder, on the other hand, had won the WBC title back in 2015 when he scored a unanimous decision win over Bermane Stiverne. Wilder followed that win with an impressive seven consecutive stoppage wins, last knocking out Luis Ortiz in March in a fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn that drew highly impressive ratings for Showtime.
Joshua and Wilder, considered the two best heavyweights in the world, will fight in a unification bout with the winner being the first heavyweight to hold all four major alphabet titles. The IBO title Joshua owns and the vacant Ring Magazine are expected to be on the line for the bout, making this potentially the first heavyweight title fight in boxing history with as many as six titles on the line.