Boxing legend Evander Holyfield delivers his verdict on potential AJ-Wilder clash

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Former undisputed cruiserweight and heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield believes that Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder would be a blockbuster bout and could elevate the sport to the level it reached during his tenure in the ring back in the 1990’s.

Negotiations between the sport's two marquee heavyweights have yet to yield an agreement on a bout that would unify the division, with Wilder’s promoter Shelly Finkel insisting this week they have “no desire” to meet with Joshua’s camp until a “real offer” was put forward.

“We wanted Joshua, and I have my own opinions as to why they don’t want to do it, but now we have made the biggest fight out there for Deontay against Tyson Fury,” Finkel told World Boxing News.

Joshua, the reigning IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO champion, sealed a 22nd consecutive victory on Saturday night, stopping Russian powerhouse Alexander Povetkin with a devastating KO in the seventh round at a sold out Wembley Stadium in London.

After the clash, Joshua named Wilder at the top of his list for an April 13 encounter, a date once again at Wembley that has been set for the British champion’s 23rd bout.

Wilder, the current WBC champion, will take on Tyson Fury on US soil on December 1.

Fight fans will argue that a Joshua-Wilder clash remains undoubtably the most appealing encounter within the division, and Holyfield has now given his thoughts on the potential super-fight whilst attending an event prior to tomorrow’s super-middleweight title fight between George Groves and Callum Smith in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Holyfield, boxing’s only four-time world heavyweight champion, has stated that he had been blown away by the support garnered by Joshua having witnessed it firsthand at Wembley at the weekend.

He also called upon the fighters’ respective parties to get the deal done.

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“It would be a great fight and could take the sport to a new level,” said Holyfield.

“When it’s all said and done you’re talking about what’s fair. Deontay was the heavyweight champion first, but with Joshua, he’s got all these people.

"I went to Saturday’s fight and there were 100,000 people coming to see him. It’s my first time seeing that ever in my life, to see a man, a boxer, draw that kind of crowd.

“I still think as a balance, both of them champions, somebody’s going to win and somebody’s going to lose. But when both people are that good, that’s when the promoter comes in, brings up the big money and gives everybody even money.

Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin - World Heavyweight Title Fight

"If you think you’re the champ, you feel that you’re going to win. The whole big thing is what the fight would mean to the individual.”

During a pro career that spanned three decades, Holyfield was involved in some of boxing’s most memorable fights – including the infamous 1997 bout against Mike Tyson which became known as “The Bite Fight.”

Asked if Joshua and Wilder are talented enough to bring the heavyweight division back to the level it sustained during the 1990s, Holyfield replied: “I truly think they are. Because Joshua’s a good fighter and he knocks people out, people want to see it. Deontay’s not a skilful fighter, but he knocks people out. People want to see the action.

“Even when boxing was going down, Tyson brought it back. He was knocking everybody out. And everybody wanted to see who could handle it.

"I guess the reason why it’s so different is because you got one guy who’s a good classic boxer, which is Joshua, and you got another guy who is raw and unorthodox and that’s Deontay.”

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