Former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is already in "amazing physical shape" - according to the once-beaten boxer's protege, Raphael Akpejiori. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
Akpejiori (7-0, 7 KOs), an unbeaten heavyweight puncher from Nigeria, has been receiving guidance from Wilder.
Wilder has apparently intensified his training in Miami, going through conditioning sessions with the same coach who works with Akpejiori.
Very little has been heard from Wilder in the last eight months.
He suffered his first career defeat back in February, when Tyson Fury stopped him in the seventh round of their rematch to capture the WBC title.
Wilder would then exercise an immediate rematch clause, to force the trilogy encounter.
The third fight is scheduled to take place on the tentative date of December 19.
In the aftermath of the February bout, Wilder underwent surgery for a bicep injury.
Unbeaten contender Junior Fa, who helped prepare Wilder for that rematch, recently revealed that the bicep injury was suffered at the tail-end of the training camp.
Akpejiori expects a different Wilder in the third fight.
"Based on what I know, the only person that can beat Deontay right now, is Deontay," Akpejiori told Sky Sports.
"He will beat Fury if he sticks to the game plan from his coaching staff, and I know that he has all the physical tools. Right now he is in amazing physical shape, that I can tell you for sure. You will see a completely different Deontay, mentally and physically in the ring, when that bell rings again for that third fight. That I can tell you.
"You're going to have to wait for Deontay to break it down and address those rumors [regarding his injury and fitness]. Listen, I can tell you from my conversations with Deontay that he was ready to fight Tyson Fury in July. The only reason why he didn't fight Tyson Fury in July, was because the fight was moved due to the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown that came after that. He does the same workouts that we've been doing. I don't know how somebody can be injured and do all that. It's really hard stuff, I can tell you that for sure.
"But concerning fighting Tyson Fury, he's extremely confident. He's very excited about that third fight. I can tell you for sure that he's very hungry, and he's trying to get back into the ring as soon as possible. He's in great spirits, excited to get back to fight Tyson Fury."