Eddie Hearn, promoter for former two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, is hoping to finalize a deal in the coming days for a January showdown with Deontay Wilder, who previously held the WBC title.
On Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London, Joshua knocked out late replacement Robert Helenius with a big right hand in the seventh round.
Last October, Wilder knocked out Helenius in the first round with a big right hand.
Saudi promotional company Skill Challenge Entertainment is fronting the money and plans to stage that fight early next year. SEC owner Prince Khalid bin Abdulaziz was ringside to watch Joshua pick up a victory.
Hearn indicates that their plan is still the same – to face Wilder next and then make a domestic blockbuster against WBC champion Tyson Fury.
“We’ve got a three-fight plan,” Hearn told DAZN. “Whether you like it or not, it was Robert Helenius, supposed to be Dillian Whyte, Deontay Wilder and then Tyson Fury.
“That’s the ambition of the team. Whether you back Josh, whether you think he can do it or he can’t, things have changed. He’s now a mature heavyweight. I know everyone wants to see first, second, third-round KOs, but against Helenius he took his time and delivered one of the knockouts of the year.
“We believe he can go and beat Deontay Wilder. Prince Khalid and Skills Challenge are here tonight, we look to try and close that deal over the next couple of days. Josh is ready for that fight. He’s given everything to this sport, he’s given everything to British boxing. He’s ready now for some big marquee fights. He’s smarter now, he’s going to take his time. No chances, no more losing.
“Tonight you saw that, a guy who took his time, tried to find the range with the right hand and delivered it in devastating fashion.”