Deontay Wilder returned to his winning ways on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, knocking Robert Helenius out in the first round with a thunderous right hand. His opponent didn’t just go down, he stayed down with his eyes staring up into the rafters. It was a solid reminder that ‘The Bronze Bomber’ has dynamite in his fists.
Robert Helenius was a former sparring partner of Wilder’s and something of a palate cleanser for the heavyweight knockout artist after back-to-back losses to Tyson Fury. Now Deontay is looking to get back into the title picture, and he’s got some targets to do that. When asked in the ring who might be next, Wilder said they wanted Oleksandr Usyk, but doubted Usyk would fight him.
“I’ve been hearing rumors about Usyk, but he’s not here, is he?” he said. “When guys see these knockouts, they turn the corner away from me. I’m ready for whatever. Whether it’s Andy Ruiz Jr. or Usyk, I’m ready.”
At the post fight press conference, Deontay Wilder expanded on his thoughts about fighting Usyk.
— Premier Boxing Champions (@premierboxing) October 16, 2022
“I think it’s gonna be very difficult [to get guys to fight me].” he said. “I’ll be very surprised if he stick to his word. You know, I’m a man of my word. I abide by principles, morals and goals. They say that if you don’t believe in something, you’ll fall for anything. And I believe in something. You know, and the last champion that came to a fight that said he would give me a fight, he went the other way after a devastating knockout. You know what I’m saying? We talkin’ about Joseph Parker.”
“So we’ll see what happens. And I’m gonna keep Usyk to his word. You know, we will be calling his team, you know, and whoever his handler is, and we’re gonna see what’s up. And if he a man of his word, what a hell of a fight it would be.”
Oleksandr Usyk called out Deontay Wilder back when it looked like Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua might fight later this year. But with Fury fighting Dereck Chisora in December, it might make more sense for Usyk to wait and fight Fury in early 2023 for a chance to unify the heavyweight titles. At least Deontay has an easy backup in Andy Ruiz Jr., who made his name off a win over Anthony Joshua in 2019.
And then there’s always Francis Ngannou, who is still sitting on the sidelines with a knee injury. He’s waiting for his UFC contract to expire sometime in early 2023. Once that happens, he could shoot to the top of the list for Wilder, who has already expressed interest in facing the UFC heavyweight champion.
Who do you want to see Deontay Wilder face next, PENN NATION? Let us know in the comments!