Deontay Wilder has yet to witness Tyson Fury’s foray into pro wrestling, but certainly doesn’t hate on his heavyweight divisional rival for exploring another form of revenue source and marketing his brand.
“I didn’t even get the chance to see, I would’ve loved to have seen it how he transformed from boxing to WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment),” Wilder (41-0-1, 40KOs) admitted of Fury’s Halloween in-ring appearance on the WWE network. “WWE is more entertainment; boxing is more serious, as it should be as we risk our lives.”
The appearance by England’s Fury (29-0-1, 20KOs) is just the latest in-ring adventure he’s enjoyed in a 2019 that hasn’t involved Alabama’s Wilder. The pair of heavyweight behemoths fought to a 12-round draw in their Showtime Pay-Per-View headliner last December, with a rematch lined up for this past spring. Fury balked at the 11th hour, instead taking his act to ESPN+ after signing a promotional pact with Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Inc. Two fights and wins—in boxing—have since come of the deal, scoring a 2nd round knockout of Germany’s Tom Schwarz in June and then overcoming a hellacious cut over his right eye to otherwise soundly outpoint Sweden’s Otto Wallin in September.
From there came multiple appearances on WWE-branded events, beginning with the Fox-televised debut of the popular ‘Smackdown’ series in early October. Fury has used the platform for increased visibility as well as to further drum up interest for a rematch with Wilder tentatively slated for the first quarter of 2020.
“I don’t hold grudges. I understand what we go through as boxers,” notes Wilder, who is finalizing training camp for a Nov. 23 rematch with Miami’s Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26KOs; 2NCs), live on Fox Sports PPV from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. “If other fighters have the opportunity to do things outside of boxing, I’m all for it. They feel like this is all they got, this is all they know how to do. If this is all they know, I feel sorry for them.
“The ones can that get out, go get another source of income, I say congratulations. I’m all for it.”
So much, that it could be a future occupation for Wilder when all is said and done in his boxing career.
“WWE was a thing we years ago talked about, as far as promotion,” Wilder admits. “When all is said and done, if the opportunity came by at this point in time, who knows. It all depends on what I got going on in that moment in time. My stardom has grown tremendously. I’m everywhere. I got multiples of countries that want to host me to their country. I’m popular right now.
“Life is great and I just want to continue to add to that. Who knows? I can’t say now. I can’t say yes. I’m just going to keep that bridge open.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox