The boxing superstar and former long-time heavyweight champ returns to Barclays Center, home to some of his most memorable performances, when he takes on Robert Helenius Saturday night on FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View.
On Saturday night, Deontay Wilder, better known to some as “The Bronze Bomber,” will make his anticipated return to the ring.
Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs), the former long-time WBC heavyweight champion takes on top contender Robert Helenius (31-2, 20 KOs) in a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Wilder’s return is risky. He hasn’t fought since last October, and Helenius is far from a push over as the No. 2-ranked heavyweight by the WBA and No. 4-ranked by the WBC. He’s also won his last three bouts by TKO.
Yet Helenius’ meeting with Wilder on Saturday night means the Swedish-born fighter enters a terror dome of sorts. Not only is Wilder fighting in familiar territory (his fifth fight at the Barclays) but this is the same location of four spectacular knockouts.
Other than his hometown of Tuscaloosa, there’s no other place Wilder would rather be on Saturday.
“There’s a mural of me inside the Barclays Center, and that warms my heart that Brooklyn has accepted me enough to honor me with it,” said Wilder, who held the WBC title from 2015-2020, which included 10 successful title defenses. “Brooklyn has welcomed me with open arms. The fans have shown me love by being so hospitable. It’s an honor to come back there to fight.”
Especially since the Barclays Center has been a highlight reel of Wilder’s success.
Take his first fight at the Barclays Center in 2016 against Artur Szpilka. The bout was competitive through the first eight rounds until a Wilder right hand hit Szpilka’s chin so hard and knocked him so stiff that the referee stopped counting at five.
“My mindset is always the same going into every fight,” Wilder said. “Do what I have to do and get out of there.”
Wilder made short work of Bermane Stiverne in his second visit the following year in November 2017 with a first-round knockout. His philosophy of short work was the same, but Wilder said plans can change.
“Sometimes things go in another direction, especially when you have home field advantage and you get excited by the crowd cheering you, and you want to do something extra,” Wilder said. “Sometimes when you force it, things don’t come out exactly how you want it, but sometimes it comes out even better.”
“ Brooklyn has welcomed me with open arms. The fans have shown me love by being so hospitable. ” Former WBC Heavyweight World Champion - Deontay Wilder
Luis Ortiz was Wilder’s third victim at the Barclays Center. That legendary encounter occurred on March 3, 2018. Wilder’s early display of boxing savvy, highlighted by his stiff left jab, was a far cry from Wilder's stalking style. His movement and boxing style didn’t indicate what was in store. Wilder managed to knock Ortiz down in the fifth but Ortiz rallied in the seventh. Ortiz’s boxing moxie was admirable but clearly not enough. Wilder knocked Ortiz down early in the 10th round and did it again later in the round, ending the bout with a vicious right uppercut for a TKO.
And in Wilder’s last fight in Brooklyn, back in May 2019, he decimated Dominic Breazeale with a first-round KO. It was a beautiful right hand that Wilder set up perfectly with a left jab. Once Breazeale crashed to the canvas, Wilder collected his 20th first-round knockout of his career and became the 10th fighter in history to make nine or more consecutive successful heavyweight title defenses.
“I’ve always said that I don’t get paid for overtime,” Wilder said, smiling. “My mindset was the same for all of those fights – do what I got to do and get out of there so I can return to my family healthy. Those were some great memories.”
Wilder hopes to build on even more pleasant memories on Saturday night. The strong urge to get back into the boxing game began this past summer when his hometown erected a bronze statue in his image.
His mission became clear.
“Getting that statue allowed me to understand that I’ve motivated and inspired people all over the world,” Wilder said. “That makes this fight even better because I’m back. I’m back to provide my service to greatness and to the thousands in attendance and to the millions around the world watching.”
For a closer look at Deontay Wilder, check out his fighter page.
- Deontay Wilder