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Why Deontay Wilder won’t be in Cardiff for Anthony Joshua’s fight with Joseph Parker

WBC champ says his planned appearance as part of the Sky Sports team fell through after his request was denied

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When Anthony Joshua steps through the ropes to take on WBO champ Joseph Parker in a heavyweight title defence at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday night, a crowd in excess of 70,000 will be in attendance to watch the British world champion in action.

But one notable absentee will be the man many want to see take on the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion next.

WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder had planned to make the trip over to Wales to be a part of Sky Sports’ broadcast for the Brit’s latest title defence.

But he said his request to go face to face with the Brit in the event of a Joshua victory was rejected, and as a result the unbeaten American has decided to stay at home.

“I’m not taking the trip, and I was looking forward to it. I’ve got a lot of fans over there,” Wilder told NFL Network show Good Morning Football on Thursday.

“Sky Sports hired me to come over. I told them I would come over, but only on one condition – and that’s if AJ wins, that I was going to get in front of him in the ring, I was gonna size him up, look him in the eyes, man to man and tell him I wanna knock him out.

“Sky Sports told me that was OK. They said: ‘we can make that happen, so no problem’.

“And then a couple of days later I get a phone call from my manager saying that it not gonna be possible.

“I was like, well I can’t come if that’s not possible. They say AJ didn’t want it to happen, they’d (have to) hire extra security.

“I even heard the extent of putting a restraining order (on me). They’re saying ‘He didn’t want to hype the fight. What are we hyping it for?’ And different things like that.”

Wilder clearly fancied the opportunity of using a potential Joshua victory to stoke the fires and create some legitimate hype around a matchup with the IBJ, WBA and IBO champion that would unify the heavyweight titles in a huge battle of unbeaten heavyweight champions.

There was an in-ring meeting between Joshua and Wladimir Klitchko in Manchester back in 2016 after the Brit had knocked out Eric Molina, but by that point a deal had already been struck for the two to fight.

And with no deal signed between Joshua and Wilder, it seems Team Joshua wasn’t prepared to offer ‘The Bronze Bomber’ the same opportunity to step through the ropes and face off with the Brit.

We working appreciate you guys. What a damn great show today @gmfb #BombZquad

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Explaining his frustration, Wilder continued: “I’m like: ‘This is one of the biggest heavyweight title fights in history, unifying all the belts, and you mean you don’t wanna hype the fight up?’

“But his promoter says I need to raise the profile, I need to hype this fight up a little bit more.

“But what better way to hype this fight than being in front of 70,000 people and the millions that are watching (with) two of the best – one from the UK, one from America?”

Freelance sports writer and MMA reporter with 19 years’ experience in the UK's national media covering major sporting events including UFC world title fights, Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championships, Grand National and the FA Cup Final.

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