Matchroom Boxing chairman Barry Hearn remains hopeful that an Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder heavyweight unification clash will happen in 2018.

At the moment, Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs), who holds the WBA, IBF, IBO world titles, is close to a deal to fight WBO champion Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) on a date in March or April.

If a fight with WBC champion Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) will happen – it will go down in the summer at the earliest.

The elder Hearn, who promotes Joshua, is very close with Wilder's adviser, Shelly Finkel, and the two of them have recently discussed the possibility of making that big unification.

The real negotiations will be held between Barry's son, Eddie, and Wilder's main manager, Al Haymon.

When it comes down to it, the biggest issue in making the contest – according to Hearn – is the amount of money that Wilder will want for the contest.

"I've known Shelly Finkel for 30 years, sociably as friends, as business people," Hearn exclusively told Sky Sports. "We sit down, two old men, discussing fights we would like to see made. I can't call them positive, but I call them open as two friends would talk openly.

"The detail will go down when Eddie sits down with Al Haymon, because they are the two guys who actually call the shots. Shelly and I are advisers and I think it's a fight that we would both like to see. There is no reason why it can't be staged next summer.

"The big problem you've got with anyone who fights Joshua is – the demands of the opponent financially, because you've got this financial juggernaut called Anthony Joshua that brings so much to the table, in comparison to what other people bring.

"There is a premium for belts of course, because Anthony has made it clear he wants to collect all the belts, but it's not a silly premium. Of course, when you get people who haven't had the earning power that Joshua has, this is their big pay day. Realistically, they are putting their career on the line against one of the most fearsome heavyweights I have ever seen and for that, it brings along the expectancy of a big purse."