Former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has claimed that Anthony Joshua avoided fighting him years ago when he tried to make a unification bout happen.
Speaking with ESNEWS at a celebrity golf event, the American boxer was asked about his thoughts on the rematch between Joshua and heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, and the potential Tyson Fury vs. Usyk unification bout for the undisputed title.
“Of course, I watched it (Joshua vs. Usyk),” Wilder told ESNEWS. “I mean Joshua did exactly what we expected him to do, to be cautious and run out of gas. He has a serious stamina problem, a serious stamina problem. We knew that he would be very cautious because of what happened before. As you see he was very cautious of throwing punches and different things like that. That best man (Usyk) won that night.
“I think Fury is too big for him. One thing he got going for him is just his size. I look at that fight like a Cunningham, somebody that dominates him, but then when he gets tired he looks to lean on him. Anything’s possible, you can’t look past Usyk, his skill and ability to manoeuvre around the ring as well so anything can happen. Anything can happen in the business of boxing.”
Wilder also disclosed that Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn played him for six months when he was ready to go to England to fight the Briton for a unification bout several years ago.
At the time, both Wilder and Joshua were undefeated, and it was the biggest fight to make in boxing, but it never happened despite Wilder’s effort to make it happen.
“That’s why they didn’t make the fight before,” Wilder said. “I mean that is the reason they took me on a six-month rollercoaster because they did everything to avoid the fight. They did not want to fight me and these are the results and the reason, we are seeing it fast forward years later. I hate talking about those guys. These promoters, managers, they put a bad taste in my mouth every time because they get in the way of big fights from happening.”
Wilder returns to the ring against Robert Helenius on October 15, with talks of Joshua potentially facing him as he looks to rebuild his boxing career after his back-to-back losses to Usyk.