LONDON (Reuters) - Heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua is likely to scrap a scheduled title defense at Wembley Stadium on April 13 with a June fight in New York now on the cards, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.
Hearn told IFL TV that the Wembley fixture, with no opponent confirmed but compatriot Dillian Whyte the obvious candidate, was not completely off but “very likely” to be cancelled.
“It looks like April 13 is unlikely,” said Hearn. “I think Dillian thinks, for a fight like that, he’d want a bit more time.
“So, if we do the Whyte fight, I think we move it to May or June anyway. But the Jarrell Miller fight is very close for June at Madison Square Garden.”
Joshua is the undefeated holder of the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight belts while American Deontay Wilder holds the WBC title.
A fight between those two would be a blockbuster draw, but Wilder is expected to line up a rematch with Britain’s Tyson Fury in the coming months.
That could happen before Joshua next steps into the ring, with Fury’s promoter Frank Warren having said that Hearn was in no hurry to set up a unification bout.
“Joshua will fight Dillian Whyte, or Jarrell Miller next. We all know that,” he said on Jan. 11.
Joshua, the 2012 Olympic super-heavyweight gold medalist, beat Whyte at London’s O2 Arena in December 2015 and Hearn said three different offers were made to the WBO mandatory challenger.
Whyte told the Daily Telegraph, however, that he felt Joshua was avoiding the fight.
“They’ve had the (Wembley) date booked for ages and have known AJ was available since he beat Alexander Povetkin on Sept. 22 yet didn’t even make an initial offer,” he said.
“We could have made this fight if Joshua really wanted it, but it has been clear to me all along that they’ve been focused on making the Jarrell Miller fight in New York City on (subscription streaming service) DAZN.”
The Telegraph said Miller was understood to have been offered $6.2 million to fight Joshua in New York on June 1.
“I’d love to fight AJ, but it’s obvious that he doesn’t want it,” said Whyte.
“He wants to go to America and fight Miller. Miller has got no power, but does have a good work rate. He is just a big cabbage and Joshua will punch him to bits.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by David Goodman