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Eddie Hearn: Anthony Joshua is that Willy Wonka fight, the golden ticket

Matchroom boss hints at Joshua-Parker close to being finalised in 2018

Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev Press Conference Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Eddie Hearn has once again hinted at the possibility of a 2018 heavyweight unification fight between WBA and IBF champion Anthony Joshua and WBO title holder Joseph Parker.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Hearn said:

"We're getting there. As AJ says, he wants the belts, he wants to be the undisputed king of the division. That's the aim, and to do that he has to win two belts.

"We're looking at March 24, March 31 and April 7 as potential dates for his next fight, with various different venues in London and Wales, even other venues and cities around Europe as well.

"We want that unification fight, we're close to a deal with Parker - it's not done yet but we hope over the Christmas period, the turkey will get put to one side and we'll work to get that done.

"Hopefully we'll be in position to announce that early in 2018.

"AJ is that Willy Wonka fight - the golden ticket, the one everybody wants. A lot of people are talking 'I want this, I want that' but if you really want it be realistic and come get it.

"Every year has to be an increase on what we have just done. I want to go and become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and 2018 starts paving the way for that.

"Whoever is the first stop off, end of March or early April, so be it…but I do want it to be for a championship belt. There's two left - WBC and WBO. The WB is fine, whether it's the O or C is up to the opponent."

The New Zealand puncher recently took to Twitter in an attempt to goad Joshua who refused to rise when speaking to Sky Sports:

"I don't really get involved in the whole Twitter beef too much but as I have said it does add to it.

"Saying one thing is different to acting. We've been in touch and we're trying to make this fight happen.

"AJ" has made no secret of his desire to unify the heavyweight division and to do so must defeat Parker and the undefeated Deontay Wilder, who holds the WBC strap.

But Tyson Fury's name is now also in back in the heavyweight mix. The "Gypsy King" is still Ring Magazine champion and recently started training following the settlement of blood doping dispute. The 29-year-old Fury is expected to regain his boxing license in January.

With Joseph Parker, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury all vying for heavyweight glory, 2018 could prove to be a very interesting year in a division dominated by Ukrainian brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko for over a decade.

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