WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has said he is prepared to take on Anthony Joshua in the United Kingdom, but labelled America the "Mecca of boxing."
The Alabama-born fighter insisted he would have no problem fighting WBA and IBF champion Joshua on his home turf but criticised the Englishman's promoter, Eddie Hearn, for stalling on a unification bout, per Luke Reddy of BBC Sport:
"Packing out stadiums looks good, but the money and Mecca of boxing is in America. But if you want to stay at home like a little girl, this king has no problem travelling to knock out the champion.
"I think Eddie is ducking me more so than Joshua. If Joshua's a strong champion, a true champion, you guys in England should smoke him out, make him fight. You should see if he's the best. My heart says I'm the best, if I'm not I want someone to show me."
Joshua, 28, extended his unbeaten professional record to 20 knockouts in 20 fights and retained his two belts with a 10th-round stoppage of Carlos Takam at a packed Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday, Oct. 28.
A week later, the 32-year-old Wilder finished Bermane Stiverne inside one round at New York's Barclays Center to retain his WBC title and extend his professional record to 39-0 (38 knockouts).
The pair look on a collision course to meet in 2018, with Joshua desperate to unify the four heavyweight belts, a feat never before achieved—New Zealand's Joseph Parker holds the WBO title—per ESPN.co.uk's Steve Bunce.
However, Hearn has suggested Wilder first face Britain's Dillian Whyte—whose only professional defeat came against Joshua in 2015—to raise his UK profile ahead of a clash with the 2012 Olympic gold medallist.
Per Reddy, Wilder said he is prepared to face Whyte, but only if a subsequent fight with Joshua is guaranteed: "He's Eddie Hearn's dirty rag in his pocket or his spare tyre on his car. He's a gatekeeper at best. If Dillian is the bridge to Joshua, make sure Joshua is at the end of that bridge. All Eddie has to do is put AJ on that contract. I will only fight a peasant if the king is behind him."
Wilder and Joshua have arguably revitalised the heavyweight division after long-term dominance by the respected but uninspiring Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali.
Joshua's 11th-round stoppage of the former back in April at Wembley was one of the best heavyweight clashes in decades.
A meeting between Wilder and Joshua would attract huge interest, and the winner could call themselves the king of the division.
American Wilder's willingness to travel to the UK to take on Joshua removes a potential stumbling block, and the duo could finally clash in 2018.