Report: Former Champion Plots Return to Glory in June

Deontay Wilder Eyes High-Stakes Bout with Anthony Joshua after Zhang Showdown

Wilder’s Path to Redemption

Deontay Wilder, the former WBC heavyweight champion, is looking ahead to a pivotal juncture in his career as he prepares to face Zhilei Zhang at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on June 1. This bout is part of a unique five-versus-five fight promotion. Wilder, with a record of 43-3-1 (42), enters the ring after a period marked by sporadic appearances and mixed results, boxing only twice in the last 30 months. These outings—a swift victory over Robert Helenius and a disappointing loss to Joseph Parker—have set the stage for a critical comeback.

Stakes Are High Against Zhang

At 38, Wilder faces not just another opponent but also his recent track record. The American’s performance has notably dipped, with a record of 1-3 in his last four fights. His upcoming match against the 40-year-old Chinese southpaw, Zhang, who recently showed formidable skill despite a majority decision loss to Parker, promises to be a demanding test. Wilder, reflective of his previous fight, conceded, “That monster wasn’t there no more,” acknowledging the lacklustre nature of his recent outings.


Potential Showdown with Joshua

Despite the hurdles, Wilder remains optimistic about the future, particularly a potential clash with Anthony Joshua, the former two-time unified heavyweight champion. This long-anticipated fight had been shelved following Wilder’s loss to Parker but now seems within reach again. “People are always going to want to see that fight no matter what,” Wilder told BBC Sport, rating the chance of it happening in the high nineties percentile. “It only takes that one fight, that one night. June 1st is going to be that night, that one fight,” he added confidently, suggesting a victory over Zhang could reignite interest in a match-up with Joshua.

Photo: IMAGO

Strategic Alliance with Matchroom Boxing

Another intriguing development in Wilder’s career is his new association with Matchroom Boxing, headed by Eddie Hearn, who also promotes Anthony Joshua. This relationship positions Wilder as the captain in the ‘5v5’ promotional event, highlighting his leadership role and strategic significance. Wilder shared his thoughts on this collaboration: “To be apart of Matchroom and the captain, how ironic that is, but how special and sweet it is at the same time,” he reflected.

He continued, discussing the complexities of business relationships, especially those involving former rivals. “I once was told from a wise old man when you’re doing business even with people you don’t like, business is business, treat it accordingly,” Wilder explained, underscoring the pragmatic approach he has adopted in his professional interactions.

As Deontay Wilder gears up to face Zhilei Zhang, the boxing world watches with bated breath. This bout is not merely a contest of strength and skill but a pivotal moment that could define the future trajectory of Wilder’s career and, potentially, set up one of the most eagerly awaited heavyweight clashes in recent times against Anthony Joshua.

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