ANTHONY JOSHUA’S £75million Deontay Wilder deal is set to be snubbed as the American plans to use it as a bargaining chip.
AJ’s American broadcast backers DAZN met with the Bronze Bomber and his management team on Tuesday to offer him a three-fight deal, the second being the long-awaited undisputed decider and a possible rematch.
Eddie Hearn, who has been at loggerheads with Wilder Co. for almost two years, had hoped the influence of DAZN boss John Skipper would secure the deal.
But the 33-year-old WBC king is now set to re-sign with longtime broadcasters Showtime in a deal that will all but kill his shot at Britain’s IBF, WBO and WBA champion.
When Tyson Fury signed his exclusive five-fight deal with ESPN in February, ending his interest in a Wilder rematch, the 6ft 7in KO artist revealed he was a free agent and could make the AJ bout instead.
But the Alabama powerhouse’s Showtime contract will mean all three of the planet’s top heavyweights must have their fights shown on rival US broadcasters, where the PPV money is most lucrative.
Joshua, 29, makes his Stateside debut in a fight with ex-kickboxer Jarrell Miller on June 1 in New York.
A career-high purse of around £25million is expected but the Watford star has admitted his disappointment at the level of opponent.
Wembley was supposed to host his next fight on April 13 but, when Wilder, Fury and Dillian Whyte all rebuffed his offers, the show was cancelled and America called.
DAZN are serious players in the boxing broadcast market, after signing Mexican icon Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to an 11-fight deal worth £278m in October and adding his old adversary Gennady Golovkin last week.
But luring Wilder away from Showtime, who have a watertight relationship with his mysterious advisor Al Haymon, has proved a step too far for the new streaming service.
Wilder has until Tuesday to make his choice official as his team scheduled a press conference for March 19 to make his fight with mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale official.
Meanwhile, AJ is weighing into the drinks market after collaborating with Lucozade Sport to launch his own energy drink, the Fruit Punch.
The apple and raspberry flavoured drink is adorned with a distinctive gold cap, reflecting Joshua’s Olympic, Commonwealth and British championships.
He commented: “Working together with Lucozade Sport on Fruit Punch has been a fantastic experience, I have learnt so much and I’m glad to have been able to put my name to something so delicious!
“It combines two of my favourite flavours to make a refreshing drink but maintains Lucozade Sport’s winning formula – hopefully boxing and fitness fans out there will like the new drink as much as I do.”
For more information on Fruit Punch, visit www.lucozadesport.com.
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