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Anthony Joshua's fight with Deontay Wilder was 'SIGNED and going to be announced' after Day of Reckoning clashes, confirms Eddie Hearn… but the Bronze Bomber's 'strange' loss to Joseph Parker has 'ruined plans'

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  • Fans craved Joshua vs Wilder but the latter’s defeat has dampened enthusiasm
  • AJ’s next fight could be against Hrgovic for the vacant IBF heavyweight title
  • We’re seeing a new and confident AJ now – Listen to The Hook 

Eddie Hearn confirmed that a deal had been signed for Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder, but the latter’s loss to Joseph Parker has ‘ruined’ those plans.

Joshua’s showdown with Wilder has meant to be one of the most mouth-watering clashes of his career and a £100million payday, with some reports suggesting it was a two-fight deal.

However, the appetite for a fray between the two was quelled by Wilder’s defeat via unanimous decision to Parker, with Hearn labelling it the ‘most one-sided heavyweight fight’ ever after the Bronze Bomber lost all 12 rounds. 

The Matchroom promoter revealed that AJ’s next fight should be Filip Hrgovic for the vacant IBF world heavyweight title, following his comfortable fifth-round stoppage of Otto Wallin in Riyadh. 

Hearn said: ‘We had signed the Wilder contract. It was going to be announced tonight, but that’s boxing. It’s one that we believed we would win and if anyone was going to beat him, I was pleased it was Joe. 

Eddie Hearn confirmed that a contract had been signed to see Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder face each other

Eddie Hearn confirmed that a contract had been signed to see Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder face each other

However, Wilder's defeat to Joseph Parker has 'ruined' plans for the £100m showdown in 2023

However, Wilder’s defeat to Joseph Parker has ‘ruined’ plans for the £100m showdown in 2023

‘He [Wilder] looked terribly out of sorts. I didn’t really give him a round. Even when the referee was reading the decision, he was raising his hands as if he might get the decision! 

‘It was a strange performance, but we can only take care of what we do and obviously Anthony tonight put in a performance to put the heavyweight divison on notice.’

In a separate interview, he said: ‘Wilder had no idea, no clue. He lost every round. It was the most one-sided heavyweight fight I’ve ever seen. It’s ruined our plans.’

Joshua vs Wilder is a fight that boxing fans have craved for years, ever since their failed talks over a contest in 2017. 

However, Joshua is on a mission to become a three-time world champion, and a bout with Wilder on March 9 as anticipated would not serve that ambition.

Wilder has had four fights since 2020 but has lost three of them, with his win over Robert Helenius in October 2022 being his only victory since 2019.

Two losses to Tyson Fury in back-to-back fights is no shame but it does mean that he is no longer a world champion. 

Meanwhile, Joshua was back to his best with a mature performance against Wallin. Even Fury couldn’t stop Wallin and had to go the distance when they fought.  

Joshua was back to his best as he beat Otto Wallin comprehensively, stopping him in the fifth round

Joshua was back to his best as he beat Otto Wallin comprehensively, stopping him in the fifth round

His one-two combinations were deadly and the Swede struggled to get into the contest

His one-two combinations were deadly and the Swede struggled to get into the contest

Filip Hrgovic could be Joshua's next opponent in his mission to become a three-time world champion

Filip Hrgovic could be Joshua’s next opponent in his mission to become a three-time world champion

It took no time for AJ to get going and his one-two combos ground down the Swede. 

Afterwards, Joshua celebrated backstage with fellow Brits Derek Chisora and Tony Bellew, and what cause for jubilation. Going in 2024, he is riding a wave of optimism.  

Speaking after the fight, Joshua could not escape questions on another much-anticipated bout, this time with Fury.

‘I’ll 100 per cent fight Tyson Fury,’ he said when asked whether he’d prefer to take on the Gypsy King or the Croatian next. ‘But I’m not dodging Hrgovic by the way, I’ll fight Fury as well.’

Hrgovic was on the undercard in Saudi Arabia and made short work of his fight with Mark de Mori.