Former heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder believes that three of the four major heavyweight titles will remain in the same hands.
In a recent interview, the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native was prompted to give his prediction on who will win the upcoming heavyweight title unification rematch between Britain’s Anthony Joshua and Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk, who currently holds the WBO, WBA and IBF titles. Usyk defeated Joshua on points in their encounter last September at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London; their rematch is scheduled for Aug. 20 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Wilder, regarded as one of the heaviest punchers in recent memory, went with the boxer in the match-up.
“I’m going with Usyk, man,” Wilder told ES News. “I’m going with Usyk. A lot of people are. But you know what I mean, it’s boxing at the end of the day, so the world will see. But my pick is Usyk.”
Wilder did not elaborate on his decision, but his comment that “a lot of people” believe Usyk will hold onto his belts reflects the dominance the Ukrainian showed in the first fight. The southpaw Usyk had the bigger Joshua, a big puncher himself, befuddled round after round in their 12-round bout. Usyk even appeared to visibly hurt the Londoner at times, including in the waning seconds of the final round.
In an attempt to reinvent himself once more, Joshua even recently hired a new trainer in Robert Garcia to help him succeed in the rematch. Usyk and Joshua recently kicked off the pre-fight publicity in Jeddah.
The fight between 35-year-old Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) and 32-year-old Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) almost did not materialize because Usyk decided to put his boxing career on hold once the Russian invasion of Ukraine broke out in February. But a few weeks after enlisting with this country’s military, Usyk reversed his decision and opted to defend his heavyweight titles, citing his unique ability to drum up support for his country as the unified heavyweight champion of the world.
Wilder, 36, has not fought since October 2021, when he lost by 11th-round knockout in a trilogy match with Tyson Fury. Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) has hinted at a ring return in recent days, but, in the same interview with ES News, the “Bronze Bomber,” who recently was feted with a life-like statue in his hometown, refused to give a straight answer.
“I may come back, I may not,” Wilder said. “I’m having such a good time outside of the ring. You know what I mean? You gotta understand, I make more money outside the ring than inside [it]. This is where I am. And I got a statue. Let’s go!”