Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn and unified heavyweight world titleholder Anthony Joshua will meet Thursday in an effort to map out the rest of the fighter's year with the top priority being an undisputed championship fight against fellow titlist Deontay Wilder, Hearn told ESPN on Wednesday.
Wilder and Joshua are both coming off big wins last month, and a fight between the undefeated power punchers to crown the No. 1 heavyweight in the world is by far the biggest fight in the division and one of the most significant fights that can be made in boxing.
"We're going to put an offer together this week and look to continue the conversation with Wilder's team," Hearn said.
Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) retained his title for the seventh time on March 3 with a highlight-reel 10th-round knockout of contender Luis "King Kong" Ortiz. On Saturday, Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) was forced to go the distance for the first time, but he won a clear-cut unanimous decision over Joseph Parker in his fifth title defense to unify three of four major belts.
After the fight, Joshua said he next wanted to face Wilder, who has been calling for a fight with Joshua for the past year.
The question has been whether Hearn would seriously try to make the fight. He has gone back and forth on when he would like to put it together, but he said Wednesday that he and Joshua would like to get it signed to take place by the end of this year, even if both titleholders have an interim fight this summer.
Hearn said that will be a hot topic when he meets with Joshua and Robert McCracken, Joshua's trainer and de facto manager.
"We'll be talking about whether Joshua fights again in July or August or we go straight into a Wilder fight in October or November," Hearn said.
Hearn said he spoke with Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza on Tuesday night to see what would work best for Showtime, which has featured both fighters throughout their title reigns. Joshua's contract with the network expired following the Parker fight.
"I spoke to Stephen Espinoza to talk about mapping it out, and he said [a Joshua-Wilder fight] works best for him in September or December."
Hearn said if Joshua and Wilder each fight this summer, he would want to go into both of those bouts with a contract already signed for them to meet at the end of the year should they emerge from those interim fights unscathed.
"I said we either fight in July or August and then we see what happens, but I want to do a deal now," Hearn said. "Even if we both fight this summer, I am looking to reach an agreement on this fight prior to our next fight, where we have already signed to fight Wilder in December. Because of the fan demand, it's important that the fight is actually made now even if they fight one more fight."
If England's Joshua fights this summer, there's a good chance he will make his United States debut against hometown contender Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller (20-0-1, 18 KOs) on Aug. 25 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The 29-year-old Miller, however, would first have to come through on April 28 against France's Johann Duhaupas (37-4, 24 KOs), who got knocked out in the 11th round of a 2015 title fight against Wilder. The Miller-Duhaupas fight, also to be held at Barclays Center, is on the Daniel Jacobs-Maciej Sulecki card that Hearn is promoting.
Hearn said he will arrive in the United States on April 22 and will be available for any face-to-face meetings needed to finalize a Joshua-Wilder deal.
Wilder, 32, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, also probably would fight again in the summer, with contender Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs), 32, of Eastvale, California, the likely opponent.
Breazeale's only defeat came by seventh-round knockout to Joshua in a June 2016 world title challenge.
"What I am saying is that I want to make the Joshua-Wilder fight in 2018," Hearn said. "The question is do we have a fight in the summer and then box Wilder in December or do we go straight into the fight in September or October. That is one of the things I will be speaking with Joshua and Rob about. But the only way I think we should have an interim fight is if the Wilder fight is signed.
"We want it. Joshua wants it bad. It's the biggest fight in world boxing and it's for the undisputed world championship. Nobody should be saying Joshua doesn't want it. He wants it. Look at what he has already done in 21 fights. Nobody should doubt his desire to be in these big fights."