September 23, 2018 / 1:09 AM / 24 days ago

I want Wilder but I'll fight them all, says Joshua

LONDON (Reuters) - World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is still eyeing a showdown with Deontay Wilder but proclaimed he would fight anyone who comes his way after a technical knockout victory over Alexander Povetkin on Saturday.

Boxing - Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin - WBA Super, IBF, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight Titles - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - September 22, 2018 Anthony Joshua enters the stadium before the fight Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

The 28-year-old Briton, who holds the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts, has been in talks about a fight with WBC title holder Wilder which would give him a shot at becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

Negotiations broke down, however, and before Joshua’s bout on Saturday, American Wilder announced a fight with Britain’s Tyson Fury in the United States on Dec. 1.

With Joshua locked in to stage another fight at London’s Wembley Stadium on April 13 next year, Wilder’s December bout casts doubt on who might provide the opposition.

Joshua, full of confidence after his devastating seventh round stoppage of the fierce-hitting veteran Russian which took him to 22 fights unbeaten, said Wilder was still his preferred choice.

Boxing - Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin - WBA Super, IBF, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight Titles - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - September 22, 2018 Anthony Joshua in action against Alexander Povetkin Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

“Yes (want to face Wilder), we’ve been negotiating with their team since the (Carlos) Takam fight ... But if Wilder’s not serious, there’s other people out there,” he said.

“No problem. I’ll fight all of them.”

Speaking from inside the ring immediately following his victory on a damp evening in north London, Joshua had put the name of his future opponent out to the crowd.

“Tonight is out of the way, let’s figure out what’s happening on April 13,” he said.

“Providing there’s no (mandatory) challenger, we’re going to put out a Twitter vote.”

“Who do we want to fight?” Joshua asked, with a majority of the 80,000-strong crowd responding by nominating Wilder.

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“Anyone is welcome. The sport is about what the fans want,” he added.

There were rumours that Joshua could fight former British heavyweight champion Dillian Whyte who, like Joshua, is signed to Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.

The pair have met before, with Joshua delivering the only defeat of Whyte’s professional career to date in London in December 2015.

Hearn’s preference, though, was a showdown with Wilder.

“A fight with Deontay Wilder would be the biggest fight in world boxing,” he said.

“It would certainly be the biggest fight in British boxing, we know that because we just had the biggest fight in British boxing with the (Wladimir) Klitschko fight (April 2017).

“We don’t rule out a fight in America at some point, we know about the money over there ... but I do believe we’re only scratching the surface about how big Joshua v Wilder could be.

“We want that fight now, we want him to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.”

Reporting by Christian Radnedge; Editing by Nick Mulvenney

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