The teams of Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder failed to get a deal across the line for a fight this year.
It’s yet another delay in the long saga of the transatlantic rivalry that once could have been for the undisputed title, and whilst the promoters are trying to get it on for Spring next year, it’s widely accepted that both must fight before then.
Joshua’s team have said as much, and the Olympic Gold Medalist continues to train in Texas in the hope of a date soon. One man fans would like to see him in with is former amateur opponent, Zhilei Zhang.
Wilder’s team have also expressed an interest in facing ‘Big Bang’ in China. The 40-year-old southpaw has had perhaps the most impressive 2023 on the heavyweight scene, defeating Joe Joyce twice by stoppage.
He has penned a deal with promoter Frank Warren and, despite being mandatory challenger for Oleksandr Usyk’s WBO World title, has made it clear he doesn’t want to sit out and wait. He has mentioned both ‘AJ’ and Wilder as potentials.
Unfortunately, it looks like the decision may have been made for him. Speaking to Seconds Out, Warren revealed he has picked up injury.
“Makes perfect sense to me, but unfortunately our man [Zhang] is injured. He’s got an injury, so he’ll be out until early next year.”
Whilst the promoter didn’t specify the recovery time, his answer was in response to a question about facing Francis Ngannou, who he said should fight within six months but didn’t rule out the idea of a return on December 23.
Ngannou is another name on the lists of Joshua and Wilder as they still attempt to salvage negotiations for their own fight, now slated for March 2024 at the earliest.