A day after it was confirmed that Anthony Joshua would fulfil his WBA obligations and fight Russian Alexander Povetkin at Wembley in September, the team behind WBC champion Deontay Wilder have welcomed the news that Joshua will travel to New York to promote his fight against Povetkin.
Joshua and Povetkin will face the media stateside next Tuesday for a Matchroom Sport press conference, a move not gone unnoticed by Shelly Finkel, who co-manages and advises Wilder.
On a potential meeting between the two heavyweight belt-holders while Joshua is across the pond, Finkel told Sky Sports: "It is Deontay's choice whether to meet Joshua or not."
"In the past, Deontay always liked Joshua and would definitely have met him.
"Now I am not as sure, but probably he would."
Finkel is of the opinion that Wilder would have embraced the opportunity to meet face-to-face with his nemesis before negotiations between the two camps crumbled.
With the pressure to arrange an immediate fight between the two champions alleviated following yesterday’s announcement, more productive discussions regarding a future bout may be achievable.
Joshua has Wembley booked in April and should he prevail against Povetkin (and assuming Wilder remains undefeated in the meantime), the clamour for him to meet Wilder in the ring would surely reach fever pitch.
Povetkin will not be taken lightly by Joshua; the Russian has an impressive resume, including 34 wins and one defeat, the only blight on his record coming against Wladimir Klitschko when the Ukrainian was at the height of his powers.
A combination of power, ring-IQ and experience arguably makes Povetkin Joshua’s sternest challenge yet.
If both Joshua and Wilder make April unscathed, negotiations to match the two men will need a marked shift in tone from previous attempts.
Distrust between the camps was evident, and neither could make a decisive offer that satisfied both parties.
Wilder supposedly offered $50 million to bring Joshua over to the States, a deal which ultimately went unanswered by the Brit’s team thanks to doubts as to where such a large amount of money would come from; Wilder draws a fraction of the crowd to his fights that Joshua does.
Emphasising that the next round of negotiations must be carried out in good faith, Finkel concluded: "What Deontay wants is respect shown from Joshua’s side, the same way that Joshua got it from Deontay when he asked for the term sheet."
If the two are to ever meet in the squared circle, misgivings as to the other’s intentions must be cast aside and compromises given, lest the opportunity to fully unify the heavyweight division for the first time in its history is allowed to slip by.
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