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27 Feb, 2020 18:14

Frozen out? Deontay Wilder faces heavyweight snub as promoters target Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua

Frozen out? Deontay Wilder faces heavyweight snub as promoters target Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua

Former WBC heavyweight champion of the world Deontay Wilder could be frozen out of the championship picture after Tyson Fury's promoter Frank Warren hinted that an all-British clash with Anthony Joshua could be next for his man.

Wilder previously held the WBC belt but, despite a very public negotiation with Joshua, the meeting between the two fighters, who between them held all of boxing's major heavyweight titles at the time, never came to fruition.

Fury then went on to first draw with Wilder, then defeat "The Bronze Bomber" in their eagerly-anticipated rematch to capture the famous green WBC belt.

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With Joshua regaining the other titles he had lost to Andy Ruiz in a one-sided rematch, it means that all of the heavyweight titles now reside in the UK.

Now Fury's UK promoter Warren has suggested that a "Battle of Britain" clash for the undisputed heavyweight title could be next for "The Gypsy King," with Joshua already keen for the matchup.

Contractually, Wilder has the option to exercise a rematch clause for a third fight, and he has already stated his intention to do so. But Warren believes that a way can be found to circumnavigate that issue and stage the biggest British heavyweight fight in history later this year.

"It would be expensive [to pay him off] - but who knows?" said Warren.

"The only way you find it is if you try."

"(Wilder)'s made some stupid statements, I think. I hoped he'd take the defeat as I think he should have done - with grace. All that nonsense about the costume was garbage."

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The Joshua camp seems equally optimistic for the matchup, with promoter Eddie Hearn suggesting the fight could be held as early as this summer.

"I had a good chat with (Fury's US promoter) Bob Arum last night," he said.

"Everybody wants to make Fury-Joshua. I mean, like, everybody."

Hearn said that the key players outside of Fury and Joshua – Wilder and Joshua's next challenger Kubrat Pulev – may need to be paid to step aside and let the fight take place, but he said that things could be manoeuvered to make it happen.

"You've got to understand these people," he said.

"I mean, I like a pound note but these guys are savages. So they're sniffing just money everywhere.

"So the strategy is, let's get Pulev wrapped up and signed, and if over the next couple of weeks there's a move – where someone can wait, someone can have a few quid – we would love nothing more than to go into Fury in June or July.

"No-one wants to see Wilder-Fury III, but we understand he's got a rematch clause. If it has to happen it happens, but don't string it out until October/November. Get it done in June/July. So we'll see."

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If the fight can be signed and sealed, it could leave Wilder on the outside looking in for the rest of the year. That could also open up another potentially explosive matchup, with former cruiserweight world champion Oleksander Usyk looking to position himself for a shot at a version of the title by the end of 2020.

There's also a third Brit, the heavy-hitting Dillian Whyte, waiting on the periphery for a top contender matchup.

It all adds up to an exciting scenario for the heavyweight division, which is regaining its luster after years in the doldrums during the late 1990s and 2000s.