Thursday, September 21, 2023  |


Deontay Wilder Q&A: Fury, Klitschko, belts and boxing politics

Fighters Network
Photo by David A. Smith / Getty Images

Photo by David A. Smith / Getty Images

Heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder (35-0, 34 knockouts) will make his third defense of his WBC belt next month at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center against a challenger to be announced. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound giant with a 97% knockout percentage came to Gleason’s Gym for a media workout on the eve of the Daniel Jacobs-Peter Quillin bout to officially announce his next fight.

Wilder took a break from driving his right hand into trainer Mark Breland’s mitts long enough to talk to about why his January 16 opponent dropped out, his strong desire to still face Wladimir Klitschko and sticking up for rival Tyson Fury against all the sanctioning bodies and their demands.

Vladimir Lik: You are in Brooklyn to promote your Jan. 16 title defense but you have not announced the opponent yet. I know Vyacheslav Glazkov is out and I am hearing the names Artur Szpilka and Amir Mansour.

Deontay Wilder: Those are the names I’m hearing too. I really don’t know 100% who it’s going to be. Szpilka would bring the Polish crowd which is good because when I knock him out I will gain his fans and I have Polish fans already so that would be perfect. As for Mansour there’s no chance he beats me. I should never say no chance because everyone has a puncher’s chance, but he won’t be able to keep up with me. He’s only 6-feet tall and no one 6-foot-4 or under is going to have a chance against me.

VL: How close was the Glazkov deal to being finalized?

DW: We were very close and he copped out to take the easy way out. I want everyone to know that. He coped out. That’s why I’m so frustrated and I just want to say I’m sorry to all my fans. If I am frustrated and confused can you imagine how the average boxing fan feels? We had who we thought would be a good opponent, a ranked opponent and he backed out at the last minute and he should not have done that. It’s unprofessional. I don’t blame the fighter I blame the Kathy lady (Kathy Duva from Main Events promotes Glazkov). She knew he wouldn’t beat me so instead they are going to fight for the IBF title and it’s terrible. I’m just so frustrated and mad. Boxing has a lot of good but it has a lot of bad parts too.

VL: What do you mean by the bad parts of boxing?

DW: The politics of boxing man. Just look at the situation I’m in. I was this close to unifying all the belts and now they are going to separate the belts again. I don’t feel Glazkov should have even had the option of backing out. Fury was given 30 days to make a fight and he gives up the IBF belt. We’ve been negotiating this fight with Glazkov for two months now. He had more than enough time to say that he wants to see what will happen with then Klitschko-Fury fight. He should have said up front that if Fury wins he wants to be the mandatory for the IBF belt. We would have lined up another option for exactly this situation. Instead he backs out las minute and wants to fight Charles Martin for the IBF belt. And Deontay Wilder gets the criticism for everything. I’m a nice guy but they are bringing the other stuff out of me now.

VL: What is frustrating you the most right now?

DW: It’s the politics of boxing and the games these other guys are playing. I threw more punches in my last fight then Klitschko and Fury threw combined. Also, I’m compared with Floyd Mayweather with accuracy. I connect with over 50% of my punches and I throw a lot of punches. Each and every fight I show how disciplined Deontay Wilder is. I’m showing things people didn’t know about me even though I had it all along. I am not about games no more. I never been so serious before in my life. I’m so sick of these fighters pretending for the cameras. They become someone else, but I’m the same man whether the camera is in my face or not. You can’t play boxing and I’m so in love with the sport. When I’m in the ring I don’t care about you. I want to destroy you so that even your own mother won’t be able to recognize you. I’m like the mafia. I don’t say much until I grab you and let my work do the talking in the end. All these guys are calling me out and saying they offered me money. That’s bulls__t. We give them the opportunities. Not the other way around.

VL: I take it you are referring to Shannon Briggs and his $2,000,000 offer?

DW: I’m talking to every fighter who said they offered me money. If he offered me $2,000,000 why wouldn’t I take it? It’s an easy win for me. But that’s the copout thing to say. How you going to offer me anything when you the f******g challenger and you are not even ranked. How are you offering me anything? I would love to fight him but even for this card in Brooklyn but a lot of things get in the way and as a champion I have to fight ranked guys.

VL: So what changes for Deontay Wilder now that Tyson Fury has the belts that Klitschko had for over nine years?

DW: It’s the sanctioning of the belts man. That’s frustrating me. For them to give Tyson 30 days to get make a deal to get back in the ring. That’s harsh for a guy who doesn’t even fight often. For me it’s no problem because I’m an active fighter. The last guy was as active as me was Lennox Lewis. It’s so frustrating that I prepared or this moment for so long and I thought I am finally getting close and now it’s beginning to look far away again. Let Tyson Fury enjoy his victory and rest up instead they forcing him to make quick decisions. Trust me they want many champions so they can make their fees. That’s how they make their money. But if Deontay Wilder is the unified champion I will fight all the mandatories and they will make all the fees anyway.

VL: Were you surprised how one sides the Klitschko-Fury fight was?

DW: No, I wasn’t surprised. I called it actually. I said if Fury takes the fight seriously he will have high percentage of chance of winning due to the fact Klitschko has been fighting smaller guys. Klistchko got away from the teachings of Emmanuel steward. Steward taught him to keep his distance. We still don’t know about his chin because before he got with Steward he was getting knocked out. Klitschko holds then throws one or two punches then clinches and holds again. I wanted to see wat happens when he gets a taller guy. He was liable to get exposed and father time was knocking at his door too.

VL: Did it feel a little bittersweet to see Fury beat him?

DW: Yes, it was bittersweet because I was so close to dethroning Klitschko myself and unifying the division. Of course they would have said I beat an old Klitschko but I don’t care. Klitschko still says he wants to fight for the WBC belt because he never had that belt and the WBC is the most respected belt in boxing. I still want Klistchko’s name on my resume.

VL: Would you be disappointed if you never get the chance to fight Klitschko?

DW: Yes I would be disappointed, but things don’t always go as planned. Even if I do fight him and beat him do you think I will get the full credit? No, of course not. Because Tyson already beat him. But if I beat Tyson then what can they f****g say then? I beat Tyson and he’s the younger guy. But even if I stop Klitschko in the first round I am just one of those fighters who will never get the credit. Ever.

VL: Will you actively pursue a fight with Fury once he’s done with the Klistchko rematch?

DW: Most definitely! Regardless of what happen in their rematch Tyson Fury and me have been promoting a fight together for four years now. So it’s already sold out. We just need a date and place.

VL: What were some of your takeaways from sparring with Klitschko and getting him ready for his fights?

DW: That was a great thing for me. I was always super confident in my ability before but I became even more confident after the being in camp with him. He was the champion ruling the division. I wanted to see what I can do. I was the best and strongest sparring partner he had in camp. I became the main guy. He didn’t need more work after me. We went 50 plus rounds together.

VL: Even though he’s not on your level yet are you keeping an eye on someone like Anthony Joshua, who is making a lot of noise?

DW: Yes, he’s doing real good. He needs to keep doing what he’s doing, keep climbing the rankings. He fights in the part of the world where they support their guy. In America you have to be on top and then they support you. In UK they start supporting you from the beginning and come up with you.

VL: Would you ever fight a Joshua or a Fury in England?

DW: Yes, definitely! I love it there and I have a lot of fans and friends in the UK. I would fight anywhere in the world. My goal is just to stay active and fight the best people anywhere.

VL: With Floyd Mayweather’s retirement there is a void for an American fighter who can be the number one guy in the sport. How important is that for you to be that guy?

DW: That’s very important to me. I see an opportunity to dominate, unify and restore the heavyweight division to what it once was. Who better to do that then Deontay Wilder? This hasn’t been done since Lennox Lewis in 1999. So I feel whoever can unify all the titles in the division will shoot to superstardom.

VL: How do you deal with the criticism you face over the level of opponents you face?

DW: The criticism fuels me because they say if you don’t have haters you not popping so I guess I’m popping. You will always have haters. People can’t do what you do so they will say anything, but that just comes with the territory. I love proving people wrong. I’m winning inside and outside the ring. I got a good life. I’m able to go anywhere in the world. I’m truly blessed and my family is blessed.

VL: Why did you choose Brooklyn as the location for your next title defense?

DW: I haven’t fought there yet and now is the right time. There’s nothing like coming to New York to display your talent. They say if you make it here you can make it anywhere.

VL: What are thoughts on the Bryant Jennings-Luis Ortiz bout next week?

DW: It will be a good match up but I don’t respect Ortiz because he cheated the sport by taking drugs to enhance himself. I don’t even think he should be allowed to ever box again. Anyone who gets caught doping should be put away from the sport forever.

VL: Describe to me the differences you felt when you won the bronze medal in Beijing and wining the heavyweight title.

DW: The bronze medal was the like the appetizer to winning the heavyweight championship. The whole world cares about who the heavyweight champion is. Can you imagine what happens when we have one unified champion?

VL: So what’s your prediction for when you will be able to unify all the titles?

DW: I’m going to say by end of next year. I will do everything in my power to fight whoever has the titles. I’m that guy to bring the heavyweight division back and I want to do it really bad. So whoever I need to beat up, make bleed and put in the hospital I’m ready to do it. 2016 is going to be a great year.