Joshua holds three heavyweight world title belts.

Anthony Joshua opens up about rejected Deontay Wilder offer

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Anthony Joshua has revealed he turned down a £40 million fight with Deontay Wilder due to a contract dispute, after the two were locked in negotiations for a fight to take place in September this year.

The fight, which eventually saw AJ take on and beat Alexander Povetkin at Wembley instead, was turned down by the Watford-born fighter and his team after complications.

Despite both parties blaming the other, and finer details never being fully agreed to, it was then pushed to the back of the line, with Wilder instead focusing on a certain Tyson Fury.

Now, however, with the dust finally setting on the Wilder/Fury controversy, Joshua has taken time to look back and reflect on why the fight with the American never came to fruition.

The Brit has come under heavy scrutiny due to the bout never materialising, even more so after Fury returned and secured the fight in such a short space of time, but 'AJ' has finally given his side of the story.

Joshua told iFL TV, as per The Sun: "It’s the first time I’ve ever really had issues on the financial side with a fighter.

"So, let’s say that fifty million we talked about. Listen, it’s a hell of a lot of money and it was an honour to even have that number thrown at me!

"But then when you dissected it and what it actually it was, it was kind of like a rights fee – ‘We own you for this amount of money’.

"The issue I had was that I’ve got long-standing contracts in place with certain partnerships. So you may put that money forward and think that you own me 100 per cent but you may only own 50 per cent so that makes their 50 per cent worth 25 per cent.


"So when you start getting into the intricacies of a contract and what the real value is, that’s when that starts taking place.

"So the $50m (£40m) was unbelievable, it’s a great number, but there are things in place that don’t make that $50m worth it to the person paying it."

The fight would have seen the first unified heavyweight world champion since 1990, with the pair sharing the four heavyweight belts between them at a ratio of 3:1 in favour of AJ.

In the meantime, Joshua saw off Povetkin in seven rounds at Wembley, whilst Wilder was fortunate to secure a draw with Fury earlier this month having not fought for eight months, when he stopped Luis Ortiz in the 10th round in New York.

Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury

Now all eyes will turn to April 13 and who Joshua will be fighting at Wembley once again, and more focus will be on what happens between Fury and Wilder in their reported rematch.

One thing is for sure, it's an exciting time to be a boxing fan, especially in the heavyweight division.

Eddie Hearn
Deontay Wilder
Anthony Joshua

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