Deontay Wilder may be fighting in Saudi Arabia exclusively for the foreseeable future.
The former heavyweight titlist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, indicated in a recent interview that his contract with representatives of the oil-rich nation is for multiple fights.
Wilder is scheduled to fight in Saudi Arabia for the first time on Dec. 23 against Joseph Parker on the same card headlined by Anthony Joshua, who will be taking on Otto Wallin. The card is backed by Turki Alalshikh, the Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, the cultural arm of the Saudi Arabian government.
Asked about a potential fight with former UFC champion Francis Ngannou—whose rousing yet unsuccessful effort against Tyson Fury in October also took place in Saudi Arabia—Wilder said it would be difficult to organize in the immediate future, given his obligations to his new benefactors.
“The timing (of an Ngannou fight) is gonna be a little tricky because of what we have going on with Saudi,” Wilder told Brian Custer on The Last Stand Podcast. “I just signed a contract with Saudi. An amazing contract with Saudi. Exciting contract with Saudi. I-can’t-mother-f---ing-wait contract with Saudi.
“So these next few fights are going to be with Saudi. After this we’ll see what happens. But I’m just happy right now to be a part of what’s going on in the boxing industry. I’m looking forward to the future.”
If both Wilder and Joshua come out victorious in their respective fights on Dec. 23, it could finally lead to a fight between the two. The former heavyweight champions have been circling each other for years but have never been able to consummate a deal.
Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs) last fought last year, in October, when he knocked out Robert Helenius in one round at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.