By Keith Idec
Halfway around the world, Deontay Wilder didn’t waste any time Saturday night promoting his own showdown with Anthony Joshua.
The unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion had just watched promoter Eddie Hearn officially announce the Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko heavyweight championship unification fight in the ring following Joshua’s three-round demolition of Eric Molina in Manchester, England. Wilder commended the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) for facing the 6-6, 245-pound Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) in what will be just his 19th professional fight April 29 at Wembley Stadium in London.
The confident champion from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, just doesn’t think the winner should be recognized as the heavyweight champion of the world.
“The thing about it is, when they say, ‘The best,’ you know, it’s just something inside cringes inside of me. You know?,” Wilder said as part of Showtime’s coverage of Joshua-Molina from USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles, from which the network will televise a live doubleheader Saturday night. “Because I am the best in the world. Not just the best American, but the best in the world. And I can’t wait until 2017 to prove it.
“If [Joshua] prevails against Klitschko, you will see a Deontay Wilder there. You will see an Anthony Joshua versus Deontay Wilder. Mark my words. And then, we shall see who’s the best. And I’ll put any money on the line that I am the best heavyweight in the world. And I will unify the division. There’s nothing I’ve never said that I didn’t accomplish, that was in my hands of doing. And I promise you, I will be the unified heavyweight champion of the world.”
Wilder (37-0, 36 KOs) told BoxingScene.com last week that he expects to return to the ring in late February or March against an undetermined opponent. The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Wilder had surgery four months ago to repair a fractured right hand and torn right biceps suffered during his technical knockout of Chris Arreola (36-5-1, 31 KOs, 2 NC) on July 16 in Birmingham, Alabama.
If Wilder wins his return bout, the 31-year-old champion is expected to defend his title in the following fight against the Alexander Povetkin-Bermane Stiverne winner. Russia’s Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs) and Canada’s Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) are scheduled to fight for the WBC’s interim heavyweight title December 17 in Moscow.
Wilder out-boxed Stiverne to win the WBC heavyweight title by unanimous decision in January 2015 in Las Vegas. The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist was supposed to make a mandatory defense against Povetkin on May 21 in Moscow, but Povetkin failed a pre-fight performance-enhancing drug test and the fight was canceled.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.