World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is glad "the truth has revealed itself" after Deontay Wilder admitted he turned down a big-money bout against the Briton prior to fighting Tyson Fury.
On Saturday, Wilder made a string of comments criticising Fury for ending his interest in a third fight against the American, condemning reports the WBC champion was pursuing a meeting with Carlos Takam instead.
During those remarks, Wilder said to Fury: "You know I was offered more money to fight Joshua than I was getting to fight you. Again being a man of my word, I fought you."
Negotiations for a huge unification fight between Joshua and Wilder never reached a breakthrough before the latter's first fight against Fury, which ended in a dramatic draw in December 2018.
WBA, WBO and IBF champion Joshua – who defends his titles against Kubrat Pulev next month – has often faced jibes he had dodged a fight against Wilder, who at that time held the WBC belt, but is relieved the record has been set straight.
"When time goes by, naturally the truth will always reveal itself," Joshua said to Sky Sports. "He admitted it. We made him a lucrative offer but he wanted to face Fury.
"So be it. If that's what he wanted to do, fine. But he dragged my name through the mud.
"It's hard because at the time when people are talking and you see lots of media stuff, you start to believe what that person is saying. I get a lot of stick but I take it with a pinch of salt.
I thought AJ ducked you? https://t.co/GaJIN7ak6v— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) October 31, 2020
"While Wilder was trying to make me look like a bad person, that I didn't want to enhance the sport, or fight certain fighters, I just had to roll with the punches.
"He has come out and said it himself. We offered him a really good deal but he wanted to fight Fury. People can take it how they want and see what the truth is now."
Wilder was stopped by Fury in their February 2020 rematch and is contractually entitled to a third bout.
But Fury became frustrated by delays and plans to fight someone else on December 5, with Eddie Hearn calling for Dillian Whyte to be the opponent after his fight against Alexander Povetkin was postponed when the Russian tested positive for COVID-19.