Heavyweight boring without me – Wilder

Wilder returns with first knockout against Helenius


Deontay Wilder, arguably the hardest hitting heavyweight in history, has boxed fewer than three minutes in more than two years.
Yet the ‘Bronze Bomber’ remains one of the biggest draws in the sport, testament to his equaliser – a right hand which almost always spares ringside judges of a hard night’s work.
“When people get dressed and go see a fight, they want to see a knockout. And that’s what I give them,” Wilder – who boasts a staggering 42 knockouts in 43 wins over a 15-year-career – tells BBC Sport.
“They know if they want to see a knockout, come to a Deontay Wilder fight. You’re going to get explosive punches and a hell of a fight.”
Having stopped Robert Helenius in the first round in October 2022 in his last fight, former WBC world champion Wilder takes on New Zealand’s Joseph Parker in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
But age and inactivity can catch up with the best of them. With just one win in four years, there are still plenty of question marks on how much the 38-year-old has left in the tank.
Once an unstoppable force, what Wilder may have lacked in technical prowess was fully compensated by an ability to end a fight at any given point with one punch.
But that invincibility faded after a career-defining trilogy with Briton Tyson Fury. The first fight ended in a contentious draw, with Wilder then losing his title and suffering a second defeat by the Gypsy King.
Wilder retreated into the background. Time is a great healer, though, and with fellow knockout artist Anthony Joshua’s career also stalling, Wilder’s hiatus left a huge void in the division.
“The heavyweight division became boring without me,” Wilder says, adding it revived when the brutal knockout of Helenius reminded us just why he still the star attraction.
“I put on a magnificent performance with a knockout, coming back after another year off,” Wilder says. “That’s what the heavyweight division is all about – knockouts.
“Guys getting out there and putting it all on the line, putting their hearts on the line and in the end leaving with a devastating knockout.
“We are the big guys, we are the big boys, nobody want to see a 12-round fight, pitter-patting, hitting each other, they want to see a knockout and that’s what I do.”
Former WBO world champion Parker is arguably one of Wilder’s toughest opponents to date. A fighter reinvigorated after linking up with trainer Andy Lee, scoring two impressive stoppage wins.
Parker and his team have been full of confidence in Riyadh, convinced they will cause the upset.
“I’m not here to get knocked out,” Parker, 31, says. “Beat Wilder and the whole world is open.”
For Wilder this is more than just a stepping stone. His plan is to dish “a little bit of payback” to Parker, blaming him for a unification contest, at a time when they were both champions, not happening.
“They never gave me the opportunity because I have a blessing and a curse in my right hand,” he explains.
“Parker came to my fight, we talked about fighting and after I had a devastating knockout in my performance he ran from me.
“We never heard anything from him and next thing he’s fighting another champion.”
Wilder’s says his motivation for continuing in the sport is to be involved in the biggest fights possible.
A deal to fight Joshua appears close, but Wilder is also targeting the winner of Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, who contest the undisputed heavyweight world title in February.
“This next phase is all about unifying – I never had [that] opportunity,” Wilder adds.
“The second time around will be even more beautiful than the first time around. I can guarantee you that.”