Deontay Wilder is out to make a statement against Tyson Fury this Saturday night on Showtime PPV—to prove that he is, indeed, the world’s best heavyweight.
When Deontay Wilder faces Tyson Fury, there will be much more at stake than Wilder’s WBC world heavyweight championship. A greater title will be on the line—one that doesn’t come with a belt, yet holds as much, if not more, weight.
“In my true, honest opinion, I feel whoever wins this can call (himself) the best heavyweight champion in the world,” Wilder said, during a recent media conference call.
Indeed, Wilder-Fury is the biggest heavyweight fight in the United States since Lennox Lewis stopped Vitali Klitschko in 2003. That classic heavyweight battle occurred at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the same venue where Wilder meets Fury Saturday night on Showtime pay-per-view (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
The 33-year-old Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) will be making the eighth defense of his WBC belt. Fury, 30, (27-0, 19 KOs), holds the lineal crown, which he won when he dethroned long-time heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015. The Manchester, England native was on top of the boxing world then—and wasn’t shy about letting it be known. After a near three-year layoff and two comeback wins, he’s eager to prove that he is still the man.
But if there is one heavyweight in the world that can match his swagger, it’s the Tuscaloosa, Alabama product known as “The Bronze Bomber.” Wilder won his title in January 2015, pitching a shutout over incumbent Bermane Stiverne. Wilder knocked Stiverne down three times in the first round of their November 2017 rematch. The crushing KO was significant as it signaled Wilder has stopped every man who has ever stepped in the ring against him.
Despite this success, Wilder hasn’t completely won over the masses, many of whom believe his glossy record is missing a signature name. An impressive victory over Fury should garner the acclaim he believes is long overdue.
“This is my time to shine,” he said. “This is my coming-out party. Somewhere I was supposed to have been a long time ago due to different difficulties and different things up in the sport and in my life that made me not to have such things. But we can't talk about the past because it's now. This is the future. This is the present and I can't wait. It's going to be an amazing fight while it lasts.”
“ In my true, honest opinion, I feel whoever wins this can call himself the best heavyweight champion in the world. ” WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder
It’s certainly one of the biggest (literally). The six-foot, nine-inch Fury will have a two-inch height advantage over Wilder. He’ll also carry a significant weight advantage as he usually tips the scales between 250 and 260-pounds, compared to Wilder’s 220.
But Fury isn’t the average big man. His spry footwork and reflexes are more befitting of a man several weight classes below. Wilder trainer Jay Deas has likened preparation for Fury to solving a Rubik’s Cube.
“When you get sparring partners to come in and try to mimic another fighter, you can only ask them to do the best that they can do,” Wilder said. “The thing about my guys, they’ve done a wonderful job with what they had, with what they could do and some of them have been in there with Fury before so they know everything about him, what he's capable of and how he moves. So, with that being said, we did the best we can do.”
Wilder is no less physically gifted. The self-described “agile and hostile” champion is blessed with fast hands and the kind of one-punch power unseen at heavyweight since the days of Mike Tyson.
That power was on display last March, when Wilder took on the dangerous Luis Ortiz. Wilder dropped the then-unbeaten southpaw in the fifth but was seriously hurt in the seventh as Ortiz tagged him with a series of power shots.
Wilder regained his composure and turn the tide. His great equalizer resurfaced in the tenth, dropping Ortiz twice and inducing a stoppage in a Fight-of-the-Year candidate.
According to Wilder, he spent much of that camp battling multiple illnesses.
“I trained three weeks. That's all I was able to prepare for when I fought Ortiz,” he said. “One of the most dangerous guys, the boogeyman they called him. It was a horrible three weeks too. But I knew after that, I know what I'm capable of doing.”
Preparation for Fury has gone much smoother.
“This has been an amazing camp for me,” Wilder said. “The guys that we have chosen to come into this camp have given me great looks. I'm definitely over-prepared for this fight.”
Which means Wilder understands what is at stake. Another highlight-reel KO—against a fighter of Fury’s caliber—greatly underscores his claim as the best heavyweight in the world.
“This is my moment; this is my opportunity,” he declared. “I don't care what man that I may face come December 1st. If it wasn't Tyson Fury, it could be anyone; no one is going to beat me on this special occasion, on this special day, I don't care who it is. No one.”
For a closer look at Wilder vs Fury, check out our fight page.