Deontay Wilder’s manager ‘optimistic’ of agreeing mega-fight with Anthony Joshua early next year after British star stayed on course for showdown with knockout victory over Robert Helenius
The British heavyweight stayed on course for a showdown against the Bronze Bomber after a seventh-round knockout of Robert Helenius on Saturday night.
American Wilder also defeated Helenius, aged 39, in October last year.
Former two-time heavyweight world champion Joshua now has his sights set on facing Wilder in Saudi Arabia in January next year.
Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel told Sky Sports: ‘I am optimistic that a deal can be made for Deontay to fight Joshua in early 2024.’
Anthony Joshua has his sights set on facing Deontay Wilder in January next year
Joshua brutally knocked out Robert Helenius in the seventh round on Saturday
Wilder believes Joshua’s victory over Helenius was ‘needed’, says his head coach Malik Scott
Deontay Wilder believes Anthony Joshua ‘s knockout victory over Robert Helenius was ‘needed’ in the build-up to their likely January superfight in Saudi Arabia, according to his head coach, Malik Scott.
Joshua beat Helenius in the seventh round with a devastating right hand and he is expected to take on Wilder next, though their showdown in the Middle East has not yet been confirmed.
Scott said that he and the Bronze Bomber are satisfied that AJ got his victory because it raises the stakes for their own bout – even if Wilder’s camp is more than confident of victory.
‘He [Wilder] was like ‘we needed that’. We both said the same thing because at first it was looking like it was getting ready to go the distance,’ he told the October Red YouTube channel.
‘So when the knockout came I called him on FaceTime and he was like, ‘I’m glad he got that, we needed it done just like that.’
‘So we’re both satisfied, the fight is bigger to me than it was because of the knockout, so shoutout to AJ to going out there and getting the job done.’
‘Most of all a shoutout to Robert Helenius. It takes a lot of courage to get in that ring with real killers especially on short notice, on long notice, whatever it is.’
Helenius was standing in for Dillion Whyte, who returned an ‘adverse finding’ to a random doping test only days before the crunch clash.
Aged 39, the Nordic Nightmare fought in his native Finland just a week earlier, beating Mika Mielonen.