By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Deontay Wilder feels the biggest win of his career now trumps Anthony Joshua’s most impressive victory.
The unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion explained during a post-fight press conference early Sunday morning why coming back to knock out Luis Ortiz late Saturday night is a more remarkable achievement than Joshua getting off the canvas to beat Wladimir Klitschko by 11th-round technical knockout 10 months ago. Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) survived severe trouble late in the seventh round to floor Ortiz twice in the 10th round and stopped his previously unbeaten opponent at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Wilder’s win over Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs, 2 NC) was by far the most noteworthy victory of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native’s nine-year pro career.
“I think me knocking out ‘King Kong’ [is bigger],” said Wilder, who wants to fight Joshua as soon as possible. “You know, ‘King Kong’ is undefeated. Wladimir, you know, he had been beat many a times. And when he fought Joshua, he was already beaten. He wasn’t a king. He was already dethroned. We know that. He was coming off almost a two-year layoff. You know?
“And really, Joshua didn’t win that fight. Wladimir lost. You know, he lost that fight. He had three opportunities to get that guy out of there. But, you know, he made the wrong decisions at the wrong time and it cost him. But if you’re looking at a guy, you’re looking at the same fighter maybe a year or two years ago that knew how to finish a fighter, then we wouldn’t even be talking about this.”
England’s Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) knocked down Klitschko in the fifth round of their epic slugfest April 29 at a sold-out Wembley Stadium in London. Ukraine’s Klitschko came back to drop Joshua during the sixth round.
Like Wilder did against Ortiz, Joshua took a couple rounds to get his legs back under him and regain some strength. Then he floored Klitschko twice more in the 11th round, when their back-and-forth fight was stopped.
Joshua-Klitschko was voted “Fight of the Year” for 2017 by BoxingScene.com, the Boxing Writers Association of America and various other outlets. As Wilder mentioned, Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) hadn’t fought in 17 months before Joshua beat him, not since England’s Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) upset him by unanimous decision to take Klitschko’s four heavyweight titles in November 2015.
Klitschko was 41 when he lost to Joshua, who was 27 at the time. Though rumored to be older, the Cuban-born Ortiz is listed at 38, six years older than Wilder.
“They still on they high horse about that win, but how can you really be on your high horse when somebody else already dethroned him?,” Wilder asked. “You know? And we already know who did that, in Tyson Fury. So, you know, they can celebrate that only for so long. And I feel that with Ortiz, he got the better skills. He’s definitely motivated to prove himself in this division. That’s why it took him so long to get a world title [shot]. Nobody wanted to fight this guy. Everybody ducked this guy. You know, you got promoters signing this man just to keep him away from fighters.
“We see it. I mean, enough of the bullsh*t. I’m sorry about the language, but it’s just, like I said, I don’t have a filter. I’m the realest, you know? Once I unify the division, they can have all they belts back. I just wanna prove a point to myself and to the world that I am the best in the world.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.