Deontay Wilder's manager is 'open' to setting up showdown with AJ

Deontay Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel is ‘open’ to setting up an epic showdown with Anthony Joshua but says it ‘depends on how he feels mentally’… as he hails the Brit for his ‘gutsy’ display in loss to Oleksandr Usyk

  • Deontay Wilder’s manager praised Anthony Joshua for his ‘gutsy’ performance
  • Joshua suffered a second loss to Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia on August 20
  • AJ is taking a break from boxing but Eddie Hearn says he’ll return in December
  • The 37-year-old has been tipped to face his rival, the Bronze Bomber, in the UK 
  • Wilder’s agent has confirmed they would be open to a super-fight last this year  

Deontay Wilder’s manager has praised Anthony Joshua for putting on a ‘gutsy’ display against Oleksandr Usyk and left the door open to a potential bout between AJ and the Bronze Bomber. 

Joshua took on Usyk in a heavyweight rematch after after losing his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts in an unanimous points decision at the Tottenham  Hotspur stadium in September last year. 

However, Joshua fell to a second-straight defeat to the Ukrainian boxer despite performing better inside the ring. As a result, his record stands at 24-3 following the split-decision loss in Saudi Arabia.   

Deontay Wilder’s (R) manager (L) has praised Anthony Joshua for his performance against Oleksandr Usyk 

The heavyweight boxing par went head-to-head in a rematch Saudi Arabia on August 20 

Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel watched the fight and heaped praise on the British heavyweight after the showcase event – claiming he was ‘gutsy’ to get back in the ring. 

Speaking to The Sun, Finkel said: ‘He [Joshua] was gutsy to go right back into the fight when he clearly lost the first one [against Usyk in September last year].’

Joshua is expected to take some time away from the ring after breaking down following the fight. However, he could return later this year to face Wilder in a potential super-fight.

Joshua, 32, was handed a second bitterly disappointing defeat to the Ukrainian mastermind

Joshua cried during his post-fight press conference after his loss to the Ukrainian boxer

The American’s manager has confirmed Wilder would be ‘open’ to a future bout with the British heavyweight but admitted it was up to Joshua. 

Finkel said: ‘It really depends mentally what Joshua feels he needs. If he needs to take a break and take a fight as a comeback fight or if he feels the real redemption is with Deontay, we’re open to it.’

The Bronze Bomber has not stepped foot back in the ring after suffering two brutal defeats to WBC champion Tyson Fury. 

However, Wilder will return to the canvas to face Robert Helenius in New York on October 15 this year. 

Wilder’s (above) manager has praised AJ for his ‘gutsy’ display against Usyk in Saudi Arabia 

 Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel said it’s important AJ (right) does what is best for him following his loss to Usyk (left) 

Wilder was hoping a victory over the Finnish boxer would clear the pathway for him to face the winner of AJ and Usyk’s rematch.

However, he has been linked with a potential bout against Joshua instead. Wilder even claimed he was approached about facing AJ prior to his loss to the Ukrainian. 

Wilder said the offer was made because Joshua knew he was going to lose to the Ukrainian and would therefore have no chance of setting up an undisputed heavyweight clash with Fury. 

Wilder tweeted: ‘They tried to lock me in for insurance because they knew he wasn’t going to win. This is strictly a business, Not a sport there’s a difference.’ 

Eddie Hearn (left) has said that AJ will take some time away from the ring following his defeat

Wilder also claimed he tried to organise a fight with AJ in 2018 but accused the British heavyweight of doing ‘everything he could’ to avoid the bout. 

Wilder said there were several months of negotiations over a possible fight to crown the undisputed heavyweight champion four years ago. 

However, they were unable to reach an agreement and Wilder eventually entered a trilogy with the Gypsy King instead. 

Speaking to ES News via The Mirror, he said: ‘Boxing is a business and I’m here to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

‘I have no reason to lie in this gladiator sport but some people are choosing not to believe what I say when I tell the truth,’ said the 36-year-old. 

Wilder has not stepped foot back in the ring after suffering two brutal defeats to Tyson Fury

However, he could return to the ring to face AJ in a potential super-bout in the United Kingdom

‘Everybody picked me to beat Joshua and that’s the reason why they [Joshua’s team] didn’t want to make the fight before, that was the reason why they took me on a six-month rollercoaster, because they did everything to avoid the fight. They did not want to fight.’ 

AJ is expected to take some time away from the ring after losing to Usyk for a second time, but Eddie Hearn has confirmed the 32-year-old will return to action in December. 

‘We’re all gunning for a December return,’ Hearn told Sportsmail. ‘It’s not confirmed, but that’s where everyone’s minds are at. 

‘We’re not booking a venue, but the conversations – as recently as yesterday – were December for his return. I don’t want to start mentioning names, but it’s a top 15 fight.’ 

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