12 Rounds With … Deontay Wilder

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WBC heavyweight champion talks all things Tyson Fury as he prepares for his December 1 Showtime PPV title fight at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is making his move to claim the top spot as the most dominant boxer in the division. He can accomplish that mission with a victory over Tyson Fury, the undefeated lineal champion from England, when they meet on a Showtime PPV-card (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Dec. 1.

The 6-foot-7 “Bronze Bomber” (40-0, 39 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama—who began his training camp for Fury this week—has scored seven-straight knockouts since winning the title in a 12-round decision against Bermane Stiverne in 2015. Wilder knocked out Stiverne in the first-round of their rematch in 2017, which means he has knocked out every man he has ever faced in the ring in his pro career.

Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) snatched the lineal title with a unanimous decision victory over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015. Beset by a myriad of problems, including drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness, Fury dropped out of boxing for the next two years. He returned this year to score victories in two fights before agreeing to meet Wilder in a mega-match for the heavyweight championship.

How excited are you about this fight with Fury?

We sold $1 million in tickets in 25 minutes (on October 3), which proves everyone knows who Deontay Wilder is, and who the No. 1 heavyweight on the planet is. This is not a coincidence.

When I was in Belfast, the English fans saw and loved another side of me. I enjoy them every time I’m over there interacting with them. Even though I’m fighting Tyson Fury, I’ve connected with some English fans and know there will be some supporting him and others supporting me.

As the heavyweight champion and the man in the division, it feels great to bring this weight class from the darkness into the light. I’ve definitely put a lot into this, and it’s unbelievable for Tyson and me to be able to do what we’ve done during this promotion.

How genuine was your anger when you shoved and went after Fury during the final press conference last week in Los Angeles?

Tyson and I are friends, but nothing is scripted. We’re going to be able to separate ourselves as fighters in the ring from any personal relationship. If you go back and you look at my first-round knockout of Malik Scott, Malik was as close to me as a brother.

So you know it’s going to be very easy for me to transform from Deontay Wilder to the “Bronze Bomber” against Fury. This fight will truly live up to the hype. I’m going to unleash the beast for the world to see, and I’m gonna beat Tyson Fury’s ass in the biggest fight in the world.

What do you tell those who believe Fury upstaged and psyched you out on the tour with his trash talking and showmanship?

Fury got into Klitschko’s head, and Klitschko wasn’t able to let his hands go, execute or do the things he usually does. Fury is trying to do the same thing with me, but he’s not getting into my head—trust me.

I’ve been through that so many times, this is just another phase in my life. But I want Tyson to think he’s in my head. If he thinks that, then I’m doing a great job of making him believe that.

But when he steps into the ring with me, Tyson Fury is going to pay for everything that he’s said. I’m going to hold him fully accountable for his actions. I’ve got a thick skin, so this is nothing.

What potential obstacles exist in Fury’s height, awkwardness and boxing abilities?

Tyson is very tall, awkward and has a boxing pedigree. He’s been there before and he’s a champion. He’s the man who beat the man in Klitschko. All of those attributes contribute to Tyson Fury being a dangerous and difficult opponent.

The only problem is that Tyson Fury is facing someone who is of equal or greater danger to him. I’ve also got a body attack, and I’m going for everything. If Tyson does certain moves, then I am going to go to his body. I already know some of the moves he’s gonna be making, so I expect to do that.

What do you make of Fury getting dropped by an overhand right by former cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham?

The fact that Tyson Fury was dropped by right hands against two other fighters sheds some light on what will happen when I do that to him. Cunningham is a much smaller guy, and if he dropped Fury, then I’m not going to have any problem connecting.

The major difference though is that when I connect—and I am gonna connect—it’s only going to be a matter of time for him. And when it comes, it’s going to be good night for Tyson Fury.

This is going to be one of those knockouts where Tyson Fury’s entire body spins around before he hits the canvas. Don’t go to the bathroom or the concession stand, because you might miss it. WBC Heavyweight Champ Deontay Wilder

Will your victories over awkward southpaws Artur Szpilka and Luis Ortiz serve you well in preparing for Fury?

Fury’s a very awkward fighter. Spilka and Ortiz will play a major part in how I’m preparing for this victory.

Although he’s also listed at 6-foot-9 and he’s not a southpaw, with left-handers, their styles were similarly awkward and I overcame them.

Is it prophetic that your last fight at Staples’ Center in December 2012 was a third-round stoppage of 6-foot-7 Kelvin Price, whose dimensions are similar to Fury’s?

That’s crazy. I never thought about that. Kelvin Price was very awkward and being trained by Roy Jones’ father to use his movement and mobility. But eventually, I figured him out, so this could be the same type of fight and result.

Fury is talking about being taller and longer than I am, and how that’s going to be an advantage for him. But in the end, the result is going to be the same as it was back then, and that’s a knockout of Fury.

Can you favorably compare your sparring sessions with Klitschko as a 27-year-old to Fury’s victory over Klitschko?

When I was sparring with Klitschko, I was the No. 1, primary sparring partner. They gave me a bonus and everything for going 50-some rounds with Klitschko.

There were four or five other guys there, but every day, it was me and Klitschko and I never complained. I was the only one sparring with this guy, and I was getting the experience that I would need for very special occasions like this one with Tyson Fury.

Do you take anything from Dillian Whyte’s claims to have dropped Fury several times during sparring?

I know a lot of people who say they’ve dropped Fury in sparring, but I don’t care about that. Sparring means nothing when it’s time to compete.

Plus, Dillian Whyte and Tyson Fury are two different fighters, which is why Tyson Fury became a champion and Dillian Whyte will probably never be one.

Have you visualized beating Fury?

I’ve already envisioned it. I don’t know how many rounds it’s going to go, but I would say somewhere between the mid-to-later rounds. That depends on how fast I adjust to Fury. But once I make the adjustment, and when I connect, it’s going to be a devastating knockout.

You guys are in for a treat. This is going to be one of those knockouts where Tyson Fury’s entire body spins around before he hits the canvas. It’s going to be exciting, and I can’t wait. Don’t go to the bathroom or the concession stand, because you might miss it.

For a closer look at Deontay Wilder, check out his fighter page.

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