Anthony Joshua and Eddie Hearn..

Eddie Hearn reveals what Anthony Joshua tells him about Deontay Wilder in private

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Talks for the long-awaited Anthony Joshua - Deontay Wilder fight are officially underway.

Both fighters have traversed their winter clashes and are now set to unify the heavyweight division in 2018. Joshua prevailed during a gruelling clash with Carlos Takam and his iron chin, while Wilder beat Bermane Stiverne to a pulp at the weekend in their rematch.

Neither fights truly tested either boxer and eyes were already set on next year before either slayed their mandatory challengers.

Promotor Eddie Hearn said of the talks this week: "We need middle ground between reality and fantasy. If we can, I don't see problems making the fight."

"Unfortunately, Anthony has to overpay opponents. If we offered Deontay the correct purse for this fight it would never happen because he would think it was disrespectful.

"So we have to overpay him to make it happen. And we have to give him respect because he's a great fighter, a great champion, really exciting, a great self promoter."

Debate still remains on the location of the fight, how the purse is divided and where Joseph Parker fits into it all but there's no longer any doubting that the bout will take place soon.

Although Wilder's professional record sits at an impressive 39-0 - with 38 knockouts - doubts over his credibility as one of the world's finest heavyweight fighters remain.

Deontay Wilder v Bermane Stiverne

The 'Bronze Bomber' has been in the professional game for five years longer than AJ but hasn't produced a fight of the same scale or magnitude as April's Wladimir Klitschko battle.

And it's clear that Joshua doesn't rate the American, and isn't shy of admitting it in private.

Hearn has previously revealed what the 28-year-old has texted him about Wilder but has now gone one further and delved into their conversations together.

He revealed: "In terms of Deontay Wilder, what Anthony says to me is: 'I don't really respect a man until he's fought anyone and he hasn't fought anyone.'"

Audley Harrison, Gerald Washington, Eric Molina and co. aren't exactly small-time fighters but for a world champion with nearly 40 fights to his name, Joshua has a point and it's exactly what boxing fans have been getting at for months.

So quite how Wilder will fare in the midst of his mega-fight is yet to be seen.

If Joshua can channel the big occasion exactly how he did under the Wembley arch in April, Wilder will seriously have his work cut out.

Who do you think will win the mega-fight next year - Wilder or Joshua? Have your say in the comments section below.

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