Eddie Hearn, the promoter for former two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, is setting the stage for a colossal clash between Joshua and Deontay Wilder in March of next year.
On December 23rd, the boxing world will be treated to a double-header extravaganza in Ryidah, Saudi Arabia, where Joshua and Wilder will co-headline a major event. Joshua is slated to face top contender Otto Wallin, while Wilder is set to take on Joseph Parker in a compelling battle between former world champions.
Hearn's efforts to materialize a Joshua vs. Wilder showdown have been ongoing for several months, facing setbacks primarily linked to funding issues with the Middle Eastern management group expressing interest in the bout. However, the upcoming matches in December are poised to be crucial in paving the way for the much-anticipated 2024 showdown.
"We had six weeks when we received a phone call from Saudi Arabia to say, 'Do you want to fight on the card?' Otto Wallin is the opponent. And at the same time, we got offered fights for [Dmitry] Bivol and [Jai] Opetaia, and AJ was up for it," revealed Hearn in an interview with MacLife.
Despite initial agreements for a January bout falling through, Hearn remains optimistic about a March face-off if both heavyweights secure victories in their December assignments. Wilder, returning for the first time since his explosive win against Robert Helenius in October 2022, and Joshua, under the guidance of new head trainer Derrick James, are both looking to make a statement in the upcoming bouts.
Joshua, coming off a decision win over Jermaine Franklin in April and a knockout victory in August against late replacement Helenius, expressed his desire to fight three times this year. With Wilder sharing the card in December, Hearn envisions a showdown between the two heavyweight giants, deeming it "inevitable" with victories on both sides.
The boxing world eagerly awaits the outcome of these December battles, anticipating a thrilling 2024 showdown that could redefine the heavyweight landscape.