Deontay Wilder said this week that the 40-plus pound costume he wore into the ring against Tyson Fury during his rematch zapped him of his energy and tired his legs and lead to his eventual defeat.
Fury trainer SugarHill Steward said he can’t assume Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) is making an excuse for his performance, and that there may be some validity to the claim that his heavy attire drained him before the fight versus the newly crowned WBC champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) even took place.
“I don’t know what to make of Wilder’s costume. No idea.” Steward told BoxingScene.com. “I don’t think it’s a ridiculous claim. He’s claiming it, and that’s how he feels. Tyson and I weren’t in it, so I can’t speak on what another man feels. It’s like walking in another man’s shoes. Tyson Fury was carried in comfortably.”
Wilder told BoxingScene.com’s Keith Idec this week that he has to make adjustments with his ring walk attire moving forward in order to avoid any future snafus.
“When I first tried it on, I saw it had some type of weight to it,” said Wilder. “You know, but during that time you get so excited and you want people to see it. But we immediately started feeling, ‘All right, we’re gonna have to put this uniform on a certain amount of time before we go out,’ even if we had to delay it a little bit, before putting it on. But our timing wasn’t perfect. We still had the uniform on about 10 to 15 minutes before walking out. And I was walking around with it. I just didn’t have the helmet on.
“My last couple of outfits, they had no weight on it. It was more Styrofoam. This time around, we added different heavy things. The skulls, the rhinestones that was on there. There was a lot of things that were designed on there that made it very, very, very heavy. You know, even with the mask, it had battery packs in the mask. So, it was quite a bit, you know, and I’m definitely gonna change that up. That’s something that I’ll never do again.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.