By Lem Satterfield
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder told Fred Hawthorne of Barbershop Conversations that he broke his right arm “12 weeks before camp” during a sparring session in advance of Saturday’s draw with lineal champion Tyson Fury, against whom he scored two knockdowns during their draw.
The 6-foot-7 “Bronze Bomber” (40-0-1, 39 KOs) scored ninth- and 12th-round knockdowns against the 6-foot-9 “Gypsy King” (27-0-1, 19 KOs) but failed to earn his eighth knockout in as many title defenses at The Staples Center in Los Angeles on Showtime Pay-Per-View.
“A lot of people don’t know that 12 weeks before camp I broke my arm. We kept that a secret. I had surgery and everything. I broke my arm from right here all the way to up here. I got cut [for the surgery,]” said Wilder, using his left pointer finger as part of his description to trace an area inside of his right arm from just above his wrist to just below the elbow.
“I was sparring and just getting ready. I was getting the best of my sparring partner. I was going to the body and he turned, and his elbow was out. My bone and his elbow went together like a hammer to a nail and it just broke it. We wanted to keep that sewed up. We don’t make excuses. That whole camp I barely threw punches, so that could have also been a reason with being anxious to wanting to get Fury out of there so badly.”
In a text to BoxingScene.com, Wilder stated the surgery lasted "about an hour and a half," that he wore a cast "no more than a week," and therapeutically rehabbed for "about three-to-four weeks" before the fight, which judge Robert Tapper scored, 114-112 for Fury, Alejandro Rochin had for Wilder, 115-111, and Phil Edwards had even, 113-113.
Wilder required separate surgeries to repair a broken right hand and torn biceps in the same arm suffered during a July 2016 eighth-round stoppage of Chris Arreola. The dual surgeries followed a brief procedure on July 21 to help stabilize the hand.
At that point, Wilder had broken his right hand at least three times in seven years, having had metal pins inserted after an injury he suffered in his seventh professional fight, a 90-second stoppage of Travis Allen in August 2009.
Wilder then re-fractured the hand against Bermane Stiverne in January 2015, when he won the world title with a unanimous decision, but didn’t require surgery following the second break.