Deontay Wilder is under the impression that a certain Ukrainian heavyweight would be reluctant to fight him.
The former heavyweight titlist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, offered a stern if somewhat cryptic response to a hypothetical fight with the division’s unified champion, Oleksandr Usyk, who holds the WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF titles.
“I’m all for it,” Wilder said of fighting Usyk for his three belts in an interview with ESNews. “He’s a little afraid—Not a little afraid, but a lot afraid.
“I’m in the business, so I know a lot of things. I’m ready to go any moment of time, place, no matter what it is. They know that. I’m simple.”
The key players in the heavyweight class—Wilder, Usyk, Anthony Joshua, and WBC titlist Tyson Fury—are currently in a semi-gridlock imposed by prominent backers in the Middle East, which has dangled a life-changing sum of money for all four fighters to potentially participate on the same card in December.
Under that arrangement, Wilder would take on Joshua, and Usyk would pair up with Fury for the undisputed heavyweight title. Of course, Usyk and Fury famously failed to come to terms earlier this year.
But it is not clear how much progress has been made between the camps. On Friday, it was reported that representatives for Fury and Joshua have been revisiting talks to stage a fight between the two for September in the United Kingdom. Fury and Joshua failed to come to terms for a fight last year.
On Thursday, Alexander Krassyuk, Usyk’s promoter, won the rights to a fight between his charge and mandatory challenger Daniel Dubois, which could take place Aug. 12 in Poland. Dubois is promoted by Frank Warren’s Queensberry, which also backs Fury.
It is not clear how proceeding with these fights would affect the December card in the Middle East.
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.