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Deontay Wilder arrives to fight WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury for the WBC/Lineal Heavyweight title at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Oct. 9, 2021, and Sportsbook Review spoke to Wilder about his past and upcoming fights.
Deontay Wilder arrives to fight WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury for the WBC/Lineal Heavyweight title at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Oct. 9, 2021. Photo by Robyn Beck via AFP.

An Anthony Joshua superfight at the fabled Wembley Stadium. A fourth installment of his epic feud with Tyson Fury. A pair of 2024 fights just two months apart. It seems there's no bout Deontay Wilder would turn down at this point, a fact the former WBC heavyweight champion hammered home in an exclusive interview with Sportsbook Review.

Deontay Wilder is done being nice.

More than four years after losing his WBC heavyweight title in the second of three legendary bouts with current champion Tyson Fury, "The Bronze Bomber" is looking to regain the killer instinct he was best known for during a five-year reign with the belt – the first American to hold the prestigious title since 2007.

Aspirations of a return to championship form are Wilder's jet fuel, and the 38-year-old Alabama native believes his best shot at rocketing back up the title picture is by reverting to the meaner, nastier version of himself.

"I've been a monster (in sparring) and I love the feeling that I'm feeling," Wilder said in a recent exclusive interview with Sportsbook Review. "I love this craving and hunger for blood. And when I felt this, then, and only then, did I know that I was truly back. The things I'm doing; not hesitating to throw my punches, not hesitating to get on a wounded animal when I see him wounded, like I used to do."

Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) enters his June 1 bout with Zhilei Zhang in Saudi Arabia with three losses in his last four fights, capped by a dismal showing against Joseph Parker as a -650 favorite. He told reporters in mid-April that his fight with Zhang (26-2-1, 21 KOs) might be "my last dance, my last chance."

Just a few weeks later, Wilder doesn't sound at all like a guy who's ready to hang up the gloves. It's quite the opposite, actually.

"After this fight, all my doors open up again, all the doors open," Wilder said. "I'm still in contention for titles. After this, all the doors open."

Deontay Wilder competes with Joseph Parker during their heavyweight boxing match at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh on Dec. 23, 2023, and Sportsbook Review spoke to Wilder about that fight.
Deontay Wilder competes with Joseph Parker during their heavyweight boxing match at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh on Dec. 23, 2023. Photo by Fayez Nureldine via AFP.

Returning to Riyadh

Wilder will step into the ring just more than five months after suffering the worst loss of his pro career, when he was thoroughly outpunched and outclassed by former WBO champion Parker. That one-sided bout in Riyadh prompted many to wonder if Wilder would call it quits.

Wilder – never shy to tell it like it is – blamed inactivity and travel for the defeat; it was his first match in more than 14 months, compared to Parker's four fights in 2023 alone.

“I had to travel back and forth across countries in camp, I've never done that before," he said. "I only really had three weeks of training. I'd then had to go over and do the press conferences, both times breaking camp. And those guys were already in  Europe and I'm doing 12 hours back and forth.

"If the roles were reversed, he never would have lasted 12 rounds with me, if I was consistent and fighting as much as him. I thank God for that situation, though, because when I went home on Monday, I haven't stopped training since."

Vegas isn't as bullish on the former champ's chances against Zhang, the biggest fight on the undercard of the Artur Beterbiev-Dmitry Bivol light heavyweight title bout. FanDuel has Zhang as a -184 outright favorite, while Wilder is installed at +150, though those odds have shifted slightly in Wilder's favor over the past two weeks.

Wilder is undaunted, and though he suggests he isn't looking past Zhang, it's clear the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist has a grand plan for his triumphant return to the top.

Wilder at Wembley?

The loss to Parker did much more than send Wilder tumbling down the heavyweight ranks. It also scuttled plans for a long-awaited mega-fight with Anthony Joshua, at least temporarily.

Joshua has been linked to the winner of the May 18 fight between Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk, where Usyk became the unified heavyweight champion with a 12-round split decision win. But Fury is almost assured an October rematch, while reports suggest that Joshua wants to get back in the ring in September, with the Wilder-Zhang winner expected to be his foe.

As you might expect, Wilder is keen, and the anticipation of a hostile atmosphere at the 90,000-seat global sports pantheon reminds him of his Olympic trials victory in Russia over local favorite (and future Olympic champion) Rakhim Chakhiyev.

“F--k yeah, it turns me on," he said. "I've been in situations like that when I fought the gold medalist in Moscow. We were right there in the lion's den. When you come out into an arena with nothing but Russians and you can feel the breath coming off their mouths ... 'Russia, Russia, Russia' ... and you can feel the wind off their breath reaching the spikes of your neck hair as you walk in knowing you have got nobody there to represent you.

"You are behind enemy lines and you get a great adrenaline rush. That's an amazing feeling, so I have no problem coming to London."

Deontay Wilder goes down as WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury knocks him out in the 11th round at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Oct. 9, 2021, and Sportsbook Review spoke to Wilder about that loss.
Deontay Wilder goes down as WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury knocks him out in the 11th round at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Oct. 9, 2021. Photo by Robyn Beck via AFP.

Wilder-Fury IV?

At a time when the movie industry is pumping out sequels at a record pace, Wilder would love nothing more than a chance to add a final chapter to his historic rivalry with Fury.

The two fought to a controversial split-decision draw in their first encounter on Dec. 1, 2018, at Arena in Los Angeles, allowing Wilder to retain his WBC title. But Fury would not be denied, earning a seventh-round TKO in their Feb. 22, 2020, rematch at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Nevada to become the WBC heavyweight champ.

Wilder-Fury III was fraught with delays but well worth the wait when it finally went off on Oct. 9, 2021, at Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena. Wilder sent Fury to the canvas twice in the early going but ran out of steam late, allowing Fury to register an 11th-round KO in what is still regarded as one of the best heavyweight fights of the 21st century.

When asked if he would welcome a fourth instalment, Wilder didn't hesitate.

“I want to make Tyson Fury pay so bad, so bad," he told Sportsbook Review. "I don't think that chapter is over with. I could see a fourth fight. I could see a fourth in the making, created by the creators. The Saudis have the source and the power to make it all happen."

But it could be a long wait for Wilder, who will first need to beat Zhang and then either Joshua or another opponent during the summer to be considered. Fury, meanwhile, is focused on his likely rematch with Usyk, while No. 1 contender Dillian Whyte is also expected to get a shot at some point in the near future.

Words of warning for Jared Anderson

With nothing settled yet on the Joshua front, Wilder might still be looking at a summer fight, and he's not bothered by the potential of a quick turnaround.

Turki Alalshikh, a Saudi Arabian government official responsible for putting together the country's massive boxing cards, posted a photo of himself next to unbeaten heavyweight Jared Anderson on April 30 and wrote that he was planning to orchestrate a bout between Anderson and Wilder slated for Aug. 3. That card is headlined by welterweight champion Terence Crawford moving up to junior middleweight to fight champ Israil Madrimov.

The Anderson fight falls just nine weeks after Wilder's pivotal bout with Zhang.

No problem, says Wilder.

"F--k yes (I'd fight Anderson eight weeks after Zhang fight), that's what we're in it for," Wilder said. "I love being active, this is what it's all about. I am at my best when I'm active. When I'm inactive I have to rebuild myself up, my skills and all that. But I've been staying in the gym, I haven't had one rest day. I've been working Monday through Saturday and it's been a beautiful thing to have that love back again, to want to train and be eager to train."

Anderson (17-0, 15 KOs) is a two-time U.S. national amateur champion and has made kindling out of the majority of his professional opponents, with 10 of his fights ending in the first two rounds. But Wilder doesn't believe the 24-year-old is ready for the big time.

"I do think that for (Anderson), it's way too high of a step for him fighting me," Wilder said. "Everybody knows it and he knows it as well. You have to say these things to convince yourself and to promote yourself and we understand that, but there's one thing saying it and another doing, and on the night, if everything comes to fruition and I'm not injured from the Zhang fight and it all goes well ... it's going to be a great fight while it lasts."

Mike Tyson watches the men
Mike Tyson watches the men's singles quarterfinals of the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. Photo by Arturo Jimenez/Anadolu via AFP.

Wilder: Mike Tyson 'too old for this'

Though Wilder is happy to take on all comers, you likely won't see him fighting any YouTube sensations. And as an unabashed fan of Mike Tyson, Wilder is saddened at the former heavyweight champion's insistence on tangling with Jake Paul.

Tyson, 57, will face Paul, 27, in a sanctioned bout on July 20, 2024, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It will be Tyson's first professional bout since 2005, and Wilder didn't pull his punches when asked for his thoughts on "Iron" Mike's return.

“I think it's bad the commission has licensed Mike Tyson because he hasn't been active in 20 years, so they should not just license him because of who he is, that's how people get hurt, God forbid he gets hurt," he said. "People can get hit in the wrong place and at the wrong time, there's lots of examples where guys have been hit into a coma. It's easy to do.

"His power may not have left completely but you still need to set it up, your stamina needs to be a certain way, or it's going to look like a clown show. I don't want to see it to be honest. I don't want to see one of my legends fight a YouTuber. If (Jake) goes in there and he knocks Mike out, that's going to tarnish the reputation of Mike. I don't want the last thing I remember of him is him getting knocked out by a Youtuber."

Check out our Jake Paul vs. Mike Tyson odds at our top boxing betting sites.

Wilder added that he doesn't believe the people involved in the promotion are concerned for Tyson's well-being.

"He's too old for this," Wilder said. "At the end of the day, no one gives a f--k about Mike. We can talk about the pros and cons, but at the end of the day, they don't give a f--k. I don't think anyone cares about Mike because if they did they wouldn't sanction the fight. They may say they've done tests and all that, OK, but as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences if something bad goes wrong."