Boxing
ESPN staff 13d

Twickenham open to hosting Anthony Joshua title fight in 2018

Boxing

Anthony Joshua's next world title fight could be held at Twickenham after the RFU refused to rule out a possible deal with his promoters.

With a return to Wembley seemingly ruled out, it is understood that Matchroom Boxing -- Joshua's handlers -- has identified the home of English rugby as their preferred location as they look to keep the 28 year-old in London.

Although the two parties are yet to discuss any potential deal, rugby's governing body -- which owns the 82,000 seat stadium -- admitted that it is open to holding negotiations.

"We haven't had any official discussions yet but are happy to have a conversation to discuss possibilities," an RFU spokesperson told ESPN when asked if they had been approached by Matchroom.

If an agreement can be reached, it is expected that Twickenham would be chosen to showcase the highly anticipated contest between Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) and Deontay Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs).

Joshua beat mandatory challenger Carlos Takam at Cardiff's Principality Stadium to defend his IBF, IBO and WBA titles and revive talk of a world heavyweight title clash with the WBC belt-holder taking place in 2018.

Although Wembley is thought to be the preferred location for any potential clash between the two undefeated fighters, Matchroom head Eddie Hearn admitted that the stadium's current status as Tottenham's temporary home creates problems.

"Wembley is quite difficult this year. We have already been in contact with them and the options aren't great," Hearn told The Mirror.

"We basically want the biggest possible stadium and if Wembley is not available, the next best would be Twickenham."

After his emphatic first-round knockout victory over Bermane Stiverne on Nov. 5, Wilder made his intentions well-known as he called-out Joshua in his post-fight interview.

"We have no problem fighting Wilder next, whether it is spring or summer," Hearn added. "Realistically, summer makes more sense, because it is a huge stadium fight, we can generate more money and both fighters will be bigger by then because both would have had another fight.

"The main issue is if they want to negotiate. We need to give him [Wilder] respect for holding a world title but one guy is selling 5,000 tickets in Brooklyn, the other is selling 70,000 tickets in Britain and we are making seven or eight times as much money per fight."

If no agreement can be reached with Wilder and his promoter Lou DiBella, it is expected that Joshua will turn to WBO title holder Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) as he continues his quest to unify all heavyweight titles.

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