Deontay Wilder says Anthony Joshua afraid to face his demand for a title unification

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WBC heavyweight champion canceled his scheduled trip to Cardiff, Wales this week to watch the heavyweight title unification bout between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker after Joshua's camp refused Wilder a face-to-face meeting in the ring.

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Wilder breaks down Joshua-Parker

Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will not travel to Cardiff, Wales, to work as a ringside analyst for Sky Sports at this Saturday’s title unification match between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker at Principality Stadium stemming from a decision not to allow him to enter the ring after the fight.

As part of an agreement with Sky Sports, the 6-foot-7 Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) had planned to challenge Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) during a face-to-face post-fight interview in the ring in if the 6-foot-6 Briton was victorious over the 6-foot-4 Parker (24-0, 18 KOs).

But Wilder has learned that Joshua’s camp is refusing to allow that to happen.  

“Getting into the ring was one of the things I negotiated with Sky Sports. I told them that if I was going over there, I’ve gotta get in the ring, and they said it wouldn’t be a problem. Now they’re saying it can’t happen. So as a team, we decided not to go over there,” Wilder said.

“They’re saying that I need to hype my profile, but what’s better than having me and Joshua going face-to-face in the ring after the fight. That’s like a free advertisement. But they started talking about not allowing me into the ring and ordering protection against me and all of that stuff, like they didn’t even want me in the building.”

The 32-year-old Wilder, who will instead make media appearances this week in New York, said he feels one step closer to his goal of becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world—after registering his seventh title defense by a dramatic 10th-round knockout of Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs) on March 3 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“The Bronze Bomber” had worked an FS1 broadcast from ringside at Hialeah Park in Miami, Florida, in December when “King Kong” Ortiz knocked out Daniel Martz in the second round, challenging Ortiz, face-to-face, in the ring afterward.

“I challenged and fought Luis Ortiz, which was a big risk for a small reward. I did that for my legacy to prove to the world that I’m the best,” said Wilder, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

“But I also did that for the sake of lighting a fire in the heavyweight division in America. We brought the heavyweight division from the darkness into the light, and the tactics Joshua’s using are bringing it back down, which isn’t good for boxing.”

Wilder was ringside last April in London when Joshua, 28, secured his second world title with an 11th-round technical knockout over 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko before 90,000 at Wembley Stadium. Joshua survived being dropped in the sixth round by Klitschko, whom he floored once each in the fifth and 11th.

“I’m ready to fight and unify, and these guys and their tactics are not allowing me to do what I want to do,” said Wilder, who dethroned Bermane Stiverne by 12-round decision in January 2015 and won a rematch against him via a three-knockdown, first-round KO this past November.

“Fear is stopping them from fighting me. Joshua knows that I’m he baddest man on the planet, right now, and he fears losing to me, bottom line.”

We’ve got to get these belts one way or another, so, at this point, I’m rooting for Parker. Whoever wins, I'll knock either of them out. Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder

Wilder’s trainer Jay Deas simply says Joshua doesn’t want to be forced to have to answer the question that everyone is talking about.

“Bottom line is they don’t want Deontay Wilder in that ring saying: ‘Are you and me going to unify this thing next?’ That’s what they don’t want, because they know the crowd would go crazy and they know AJ would have to answer the question,” Deas said.

Wilder dismissed any notion that Joshua, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, would be more open to facing him based on a perceived vulnerability against Ortiz. Wilder, himself, questioned Joshua’s dominance during his last fight in October, a 10th-round TKO of Carlos Takam—who held his own despite being cut over his right eye and dropped in the fourth by Joshua.

“They don’t want to face me any time soon. They want to keep on fooling the British fans that they’re the best when they know that they’re not. But the British and American fans are waking up to their BS,” said Wilder, recalling his willingness to face Alexander Povetkin in Moscow in May, 2016, before the Russian former champion’s positive test for the banned substance meldonium—which forced the fight’s cancellation.

“Wasn’t I about to go to Russia? My title says ‘Heavyweight Champion of The World.’ I’m a People’s Champion at the end of the day. They’re stalling the fight, trying to make it seem like it’s my fault, but I’ll defend my title against Joshua in his city or anywhere on the planet. I ain’t worried about referees or judges. Wherever they wanna fight, I’m there.”

Given his belief that Joshua will be reluctant to immediately face him in victory, Wilder admits there is a part of him that is rooting for the 26-year-old Parker, whose second defense was a majority decision victory over Hughie Fury in September.

“We’ve got to get these belts one way or another, so, at this point, I’m rooting for Parker. I think he has a chance of winning, 100 percent, if he’s smart,” Wilder said.

“I have a good relationship with Parker’s people, so I do think they’d fight me next. But Joshua’s already mentioning guys like Jarrell Miller and everybody but me. Whoever wins, I'll knock either of them out.”

For a closer look at Deontay Wilder, check out his fighter page.

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