Eddie Hearn: ‘Brits will love to see Joshua travel to Brooklyn to beat an American’
On Tuesday, Eddie Hearn, group managing director of Matchroom Boxing, said he expects IBF/WBA heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua to possibly make his long-awaited United States debut this summer in New York City and has a back-up plan, should a deal with WBC beltholder Deontay Wilder fall through.
During a press conference in New York, Hearn also announced his second U.S. promotion will feature former middleweight championship challenger Daniel Jacobs versus Maciej Sulecki in the main event at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, live on HBO on April 28. The co-feature that evening will feature undefeated heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller, as he takes on former WBC title challenger Johann Duhaupas.
Hearn believes Miller is the perfect opponent for Joshua’s United States debut and said he has already begun preliminary discussions with Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark.
“For Anthony Joshua to come to Brooklyn and fight a kid out of Brooklyn for the world heavyweight title, that’s a big fight,” Hearn said. “But we need the excuse from Jarrell to make this fight and he needs to look good and win against Duhaupas. (By then) Jarrell, in his last three fights, would have beaten (Gerald) Washington, (Mariusz) Wach and Duhaupas. I think that makes him worthy of a title shot.”
Joshua, meanwhile, is focused on his own bout on March 31 against WBO titleholder Joseph Parker, in Cardiff, Wales where over 70,000 tickets were sold on their first day of availability.
“My job is to look after AJ’s future, so while he is in camp for the Parker fight, I am looking at our options for the rest of the year and beyond,” Hearn said.
Hearn said Joshua is hopeful that a deal can reached for a unification bout against Wilder but also suggested the two sides are just too far apart, at the moment.
“Deontay Wilder is currently residing on a street called ‘Fantasy Island’ and until he becomes sensible, a fight with Jarrell Miller is perfect,” Hearn said. “When you have one guy making 10 times what the other guy is making, you can’t expect to have a level playing field, financially. Then you add one of these guys, who might have three belts and one guy only has one. They have to be realistic.”
Hearn is no stranger to opponents demanding large amounts of money to fight Joshua and has said numerous times that he and Parker’s camp were also far apart before a deal was ultimately reached.
“(Parker’s team) came around and I expect Wilder to come around too but it won’t be in time for Joshua’s next bout,” Hearn added. “If all goes to plan, on March 31, AJ will ask me for Wilder and, of course, I will try to get that next, if they are interested. I feel like we have Wilder surrounded, at the moment. Dillian Whyte is about to be Wilder’s mandatory for the WBC.”
Hearn claims he offered Wilder almost twice the amount he will earn for his March 3 title defense against Luis Ortiz to fight Whyte and Wilder turned it down.
“If I were going to defend my title in a high-risk fight, like the one with Ortiz is, I would want serious money to match the risk,” Hearn said. “Wilder turned down a fight with Whyte to take less to fight Ortiz, who is very dangerous. I hope they analyzed the decision and are happy with the one they made.”
Hearn expects Wilder to stop Ortiz inside four rounds unless Wilder comes in sloppy and makes mistakes.
“That’s the worry about the Ortiz fight,” Hearn analyzed. “Ortiz can punch and is a clever counterpuncher. Wilder can get hammered by a counterpunch and Ortiz can win this fight if Wilder is not careful, which I fully expect him to be.”
Hearn fully expects Joshua’s meteoric popularity in the U.K. to translate to the U.S., once American fans see the 2012 Olympic gold medalist up close.
“Anthony Joshua is the world champion, not the British champion,” Hearn added. “AJ has to fight in the U.S., so Anthony Joshua’s United States debut is imminent in 2018. We will fill Barclays Center up with Brits and back home, they will love to see AJ travel to Brooklyn to beat up an American.”
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