Shelly Finkel unhappy with Eddie Hearn and Anthony Joshua

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Shelley Finkel, co-manager and advisor to WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, cast suspicion on yesterday’s announcement by Eddie Hearn that the WBA have stood in the way of a Wilder vs Anthony Joshua unification bout.

Finkel believes that Hearn and Joshua do not want to fight the American at this time, despite frequent public announcements to the contrary.

Of Joshua and Hearn’s willingness to fight, Finkel told World Boxing News: “If Anthony Joshua and Eddie Hearn wanted the fight, instead of saying the WBA are pressing him, he would be able to ask for an exception and most likely the WBA would have given it and this would not be an issue.

“The fact is, he’s never asked for an exception. Everyone knows it’s best for boxing to make this fight. But Joshua and his team are obviously not interested in what the fans want.”

The WBA have ordered Joshua to face his mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin in lieu of a deal being agreed which would see the Watford star take on his American rival.

In most cases, boxing’s sanctioning bodies will let a unification fight take precedence over a mandatory opponent.

This principle is the essence of Finkel’s argument; that the WBA would not stand in the way of Joshua negotiating with Wilder if an agreement between the two was likely.

Attempts at reaching a deal between the respective teams of the two eminent heavyweights has been protracted and arduous, with claim and counter claim dispensed willy-nilly.

The nature of discussions so far may explain why the WBA is as eager as it is to mandate Joshua v Povetkin.

Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker -  World Heavyweight Title Fight

Late last month, Wilder claimed to have matched Joshua’s demand of a 50 million dollar purse for facing the WBC strap-holder in America.

While there was considerable derision aimed at the claim initially, Finkel has stood firm, telling World Boxing News: "To clear up one other fallacy, Eddie knows that they have a written term sheet from us which details our $50 million-dollar offer for Anthony Joshua to fight Deontay Wilder in the U.S. We have never received from them a response to this term sheet."

A statement released yesterday by WBA President Gilberto Mendoza read: “Today the WBA requested an answer from Anthony Joshua's team regarding his fight with the mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.

"The WBA have allowed over a month extension to negotiations with Povetkin and also ongoing discussions with Deontay Wilder.

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"It appears the Wilder team have not returned the contract for the fight and therefore we are requesting a date for the Joshua versus Povetkin fight with immediate effect."

The tone of Mendoza’s statement suggests considerable frustration at both sides of the Joshua/Wilder divide.

In response to the WBA’s announcement, Hearn told Sky Sports: “Deontay Wilder is another fight that he wants badly. We can't do a lot more than we're doing.

"I think Anthony is frustrated that he feels - people feel he might not want this fight. He wants that fight more than anything.

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"We sent the contract nearly nine days ago now. We're not even necessarily expecting a signed contract back. We just want your comments. If my fighter wanted a fight, and we received a contract, I would be back with the comments within 24 hours.”

With the tit-for-tat between the heavyweights showing no sign of abating, there is a danger that public interest in the fight will begin to diminish.

Negotiations need to conclude or be put to one side

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