Deontay Wilder made it clear this week that he plans to continue his boxing career at the age of 36. (photo by Ryan Hafey)

“I can’t stop right now. I must continue with my journey. I love you guys so much. I can’t end it like this. This journey isn't over with,” Wilder said during his statue unveiling in Alabama.

“The Bronze Bomber” is coming off a hellacious trilogy against Tyson Fury in which he suffered a total of five knockdowns in back-to-back stoppage losses in Feb. 2020 and Oct. 2021.

The former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) had a title reign from 2015 to 2020. 

After losing the belt, the rulers of the division are now the WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO champion Oleksandr Usyk, and the WBC titlist Fury.

Wilder, a 2008 Olympics bronze medalist, believes boxing is best served when the sport’s glamor division is headlined by an American champion. 

"One thing about boxing that I’ve proved is that boxing thrives off of excitement, but the excitement of an American champion. Once that dies, so does boxing,” Wilder told Blue Blood Sports TV.

"I was living proof, because I’m coming back on popular demand because that’s all I’ve been hearing from high and low. From homeless people all the way up to millionaires. You feel me? It’s just been an amazing feeling. So many people reaching out telling me it's important because without an American, heavyweight boxing really isn’t exciting. An American heavyweight brings that excitement to the division. Then all the money flows. Trust me on that.”

Wilder is tied to Premier Boxing Champions and Al Haymon, who could deliver Wilder a series of matchups against in-house options like Andy Ruiz Jr., Robert Helanius, Frank Sanchez, and Adam Kownacki, among others. 

Wilder could also jump straight into the deep end and face the loser of the summer rematch between Usyk and Anthony Joshua. The winner is penciled in to face Fury for an undisputed heavyweight championship fight. 

Other top contenders that Wilder could potentially face are Joseph Parker, Dillian Whyte, Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois and Otto Wallin. 

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.