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'Thanks Anthony': Wilder calls Joshua's bluff and accepts UK challenge in statement

Wilder maintains there is nothing on his side preventing the pair from trading leather.

DEONTAY WILDER CANCELLED a media call with the UK press this evening, instead releasing a prepared statement within which he thanked fellow heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua for proposing a fight between the pair following his points victory over Joseph Parker on Saturday night.

Speaking in the Millennium Stadium ring after adding the WBO belt to his collection, unified champion Joshua claimed he was “100%” ready and willing to face WBC king Wilder in a fight for the undisputed heavyweight crown.

Joshua insisted that it must be Wilder, and not him, who eventually traverses the Atlantic for arguably the most eagerly anticipated scrap in boxing. “I’ll knock him spark out,” he said of Wilder to the wild cheers of thousands in the Welsh capital.

Alabama native Wilder, 40-0(39KOs) stirred an unrelated controversy over the weekend when he once more claimed he ‘wanted a body on his record’ – an idea he has peddled in the past and subsequently addressed in an interview with The42.

With the American under fire, his scheduled media call was cancelled this afternoon, but not before he gleefully accepted Joshua’s invitation for a rumble on UK soil.

“First of all, I want to congratulate Anthony Joshua on his win last Saturday night,” Wilder said in an email to the media. “Anthony, I am so glad we finally heard from you on Saturday and that you want to fight me as your next opponent and you want the fight to happen in the UK.

I accept that challenge and I am ready to come to the UK for my next fight. There is nothing on Team Wilder’s side to prevent me from fighting you next.

“You also said on Saturday that your team is ready to meet with Shelly Finkel and Al Haymon from my side to get this deal done. They are also ready to meet with your team immediately. Let us know when – the sooner the better.

“Thanks Anthony, I can’t wait to meet you in the ring.”

Deontay Wilder vs Luis Ortiz Source: Getty Images

Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, claimed in the UK Daily Star today that Wilder would fight former Joshua victim Dominic Breazeale next, telling Chris McKenna: “There’s no doubt about that because the IBF ordered a final eliminator between Pulev and Breazeale and Breazeale pulled out because he’s going to fight Wilder next.

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“Breazeale had a final eliminator to fight Pulev, a massive opportunity to become mandatory to Joshua and if he had fought Pulev, he would probably have won.

“So why pull out if he had nothing else on? The answer is because he’s fighting Deontay Wilder.

“If Wilder then fights in June or July against Breazeale, then our fight with Wilder would not take place until November or December.”

Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s manager, has denied these claims per Gareth A. Davies on TalkSPORT. In an interview with Davies published yesterday, Finkel expressed a willingness to travel to UK to hammer out terms with Joshua and Hearn, revealing tentative talks for two fights between the heavyweight champs – one in the UK and one across the pond – took place to no avail last autumn.

Many, including former World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, now fancy the unconventional Wilder to topple Joshua should they square off in 2018.

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