By Edward Chaykovsky
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (37-0, 36KOs) is back in fully training and eager to make a defense of his world title in the first quarter of 2017.
Wilder broke his right hand and tore his bicep during his knockout victory over Chris Arreola in July. The surgery and rehabilitation pushed back plans to make a third defense in 2016. Wilder retained his title in January after knocking out Polish fighter Artur Szpilka.
"Everything is good," Wilder exclusively told Sky Sports. "I'm in full training again, using both hands. Everything's looking good so I can't wait to get back into the ring. I'm able to punch with both hands, for sure. It's been a long healing process but I'm ahead of schedule - I'm a fast healer because I've been an athlete all my life. Sometime early next year, I'll be ready to go."
Wilder is hoping to unify all of the titles in 2017. The IBF champion is Anthony Joshua, the WBA title is vacant, and next month Joseph Parker and Andy Ruiz will battle for the vacant WBO world title.
"2017 will be a beautiful year," he said. "Our goal is to unify the division so we need others that want to put their title on the line."
Wilder is owe a mandatory defense, likely by the summer, against the winner of the final eliminator between Bermane Stiverne and Alexander Povetkin - taking place on December 17 in Russia.
Joshua will defend his belt on December 10th against Eric Molina, who Wilder knocked out last year in nine rounds. A lot of experts believe the performance by Joshua will be compared to Wilder's win - as a measuring stick to have the two of them collide in a huge fight next year. Joshua is already in line to face Wladimir Klitschko in March/April with the vacant WBA/IBO belts at stake.