Barry Hearn has stated that a heavyweight unification bout between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder has to happen in 2018.
The former Matchroom Boxing mogul, now managed by his son Eddie, is a big fan of Joshua’s, but is also close to representatives of Wilder’s team, notably Shelly Finkel.
Hearn and Finkel have been informally discussing the potential of the bout together, and along with Eddie’s meeting with Finkel and Wilder’s promoter Al Haymon, things look to be progressing slowly but surely with the aim of fighting next year.
And Hearn senior has backed up these claims, telling Sky Sports: "I've known Shelly Finkel for 30 years, sociably as friends, as business people.
"We sit down, two old men, discussing fights we would like to see made. I can't call them positive, but I call them open as two friends would talk openly.
"The detail will go down when Eddie sits down with Al Haymon, because they are the two guys who actually call the shots. Shelly and I are advisors and I think it's a fight that we would both like to see.
"There is no reason why it can't be staged next summer.”
Despite talks about a Joshua and Wilder super fight, ‘AJ’s next opponent looks more than likely to be the WBO world champion, New Zealander Joseph Parker.
Eddie Hearn has announced that talks are close to being finalised with Parker’s team to fight in the first half of 2018, and Barry believes that both fights could take place in the same year, progressing Matchroom’s plan for Joshua to unify the heavyweight division.
"If Parker's people are serious about fighting 'AJ' in March-April time, and I think they are - again they are probably unrealistic, but I don't think they are too far away," he continued.
"That could obviously be the WBO belt and Deontay Wilder - that fight has to happen at some stage. Is it the summer of 2018? Or is it November-December 2018?
"I believe it would certainly be one of those dates. I believe for a particular moment of time, by the end of 2018, Anthony Joshua will have more belts around him than Father Christmas will have around his stomach."