DEONTAY WILDER has been urged to retire if he refuses to rematch Tyson Fury in December.
The 34-year-old American suffered the first defeat of his career in February and also surrendered the WBC belt to the hands of Fury, 31.
They are already contracted to a third bout, targeted for the end of the year, but Wilder has remained radio silent in the months following his loss.
It has led to fears from Eddie Hearn that the Bronze Bomber could be about to walk away from his immediate rematch.
And the promoter believes it would be a career-ending decision for Wilder if he was to snub his crack at redemption.
Hearn told iFL TV: “If Deontay Wilder doesn’t take that rematch, he should retire from boxing.
“What’s the point? You’ve been a world heavyweight champion, and now you’ve lost and your bum’s gone.
“You’ve bottled the rematch, and he won’t. He’s got more about him than that. But he’s worryingly quiet, isn’t he?”
The trilogy fight is set to fall on the same month unified champion Anthony Joshua, 30, makes a mandatory defence against Kubrat Pulev, 39.
Fury had suggested instead fighting AJ in an undisputed title decider and dropping their other commitments.
But Hearn has ruled out the heavyweight champions facing this year, with Wilder and Pulev needing to first be beaten.
He said: “[Fury is] under contract for another fight. No, we’re not under contract yet, but we have to agree to terms with Pulev now.
“We probably will [fight Pulev]. Fury doesn’t want to get out of his contract for the trilogy match with Wilder.
“Why would he? Next to a fight with Joshua, it’s the best money Fury can make, and it’s a match that will help increase his popularity in the US.
“We’re probably a lot freer to take the fight in December than [Fury] is.
“Whether that is to goad us or to challenge us, we accept that challenge to fight in December if you don’t have to fight Deontay Wilder.
“But you do have to fight Deontay Wilder.”