By Keith Idec
Deontay Wilder doesn’t think Anthony Joshua will win his rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr.
The unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion considers Joshua’s lack of confidence an irrefutable flaw that’ll lead to another knockout defeat for the former champ when he encounters Ruiz on December 7 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. But even if Ruiz beats Joshua again, Wilder will want to fight his heavyweight rival eventually.
“For sure,” Wilder told BoxingScene.com. “I’ll want to fight Joshua as long as he in the division. If he keep losing every time he fight, if it becomes like that, then that fight will never happen. But as far as now, there’s still an opportunity.”
Joshua-Wilder was the most anticipated fight in boxing before Ruiz produced an epic upset June 1 at Madison Square Garden. It lost its luster once Ruiz knocked down Joshua four times and stopped the British superstar in the seventh round, but Wilder is convinced they can re-create a lot of interest in it at some point.
“Even if he loses against Ruiz, it’s still an opportunity,” said Wilder, who then would want to fight Ruiz first. “Even if he loses again to Ruiz, I still wanna fight him. But he can’t lose no more after that, or he’ll really, really be dropping. But it’s gonna be interesting to see what happens. He knows this is a crucial fight for him, that he must win this fight. I don’t think it’s over for him if he don’t win it, but it’s gonna be a long journey if he don’t win. We’ll see, but I still wanna fight him.”
The 33-year-old Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the 29-year-old Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs), of Watford, England, figure to face multiple opponents apiece before their bout becomes a viable alternative again.
Two weeks before Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) and Joshua fight a second time, Wilder will engage in a rematch of his own. He’ll defend his title against Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs, 2 NC) on November 23 in Las Vegas.
If Wilder defeats Ortiz again, he is expected to fight Tyson Fury in another rematch that could take place February 22. England’s Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) would have to defeat Sweden’s Otto Wallin (20-0, 13 KOs, 1 NC) on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to help keep his rematch with Wilder in place.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.