For the better part of the past decade and a half, Deontay Wilder has lived by an old adage, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
With the Alabama native laying waste to his competition, he revealed in years past that despite his overarching success, his training methods were a bit unorthodox. At one point, Wilder, now 36, admitted that, unlike most elite fighters, he isn’t a fan of jogging and roadwork. Also, Mark Breland, Wilder’s former trainer, divulged that Wilder refused to hit the heavy bag during their training sessions.
Although Wilder's unique methods have led to massive success, the former WBC heavyweight titlist has taken a different and much more maniacal approach to his training as he prepares to make his ring return on October 15th, against Robert Helenius.
“We done put in 407 rounds,” said Wilder during a virtual press conference as he detailed the amount of sparring that’s taken place thus far. “It’s been great, training has been great. I wanted to try something different.”
Presently, the 6’7” Wilder, who possesses a hammer for a right hand, rode his unconventional training methods to a dominant world title reign. Following his one-sided drubbing of Bermane Stiverne in 2015, Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) successfully ended the world title dreams of 10 consecutive opponents. However, while his concussive power has always bailed him out of trouble, Wilder’s time at the top of the heavyweight food chain came to an end in 2020 at the hands of Tyson Fury.
Having come up short against Fury once more in their immediate rematch, Wilder has expressed a desire to get away from his mundane and monotonous workout schedule and implement something that he would enjoy.
“When you're in a business and you do it for so long and the same routine, sometimes it can get boring," continued Wilder. "With this one, we just wanted to change up some things. We wanted to go longer rounds and see what happens. We started off at 18 rounds to 21, 26, 28, and 30, and then to 40. It can sound hardcore on your body but when you’re in shape and your body is up to par, nothing is impossible.”
Ultimately, even with Wilder enjoying his time in training camp, he’s well aware of what Helenius (31-3, 20 KOs) brings to the table. On countless occasions, both Wilder and the 38-year-old from Sweden traded heavy blows in heated sparring sessions.
A somewhat despondent Wilder paused for a moment while smiling as he reminisced over the long hours they’ve put in while working side-by-side. In a moment of pure candor, Wilder gushed over how impressed he is with Helenius and how their friendship and close-knit bond has grown over the years.
Nevertheless, regardless of their camaraderie, Wilder assures fans that they’ll get their money’s worth come October 15th.
“He’s an amazing man. Every time he comes down, it’s like a brotherhood. It’s a connection that we have. Unfortunately, the business that we choose to participate in, consists of us going against each other. But make no mistake, because we know each other and we have worked together with each other, that don’t mean that the fight won’t be interesting. You’re looking at two warriors, with a warrior mindset and a warrior's heart.”