Ever since Mike Tyson retired from boxing, fans and media have been looking for the next great and exciting American heavyweight. In an era that has been dominated by big heavyweight champions who have almost no resistance in their title defenses, people are looking for a fighter to bring back some of the prestige to what was once the most popular divisions in boxing. Undefeated and highly ranked heavyweight contender, Deontay Wilder, has started get the fans thinking that might be possible, as he has racked up a 30 wins, knocking out every fighter he has faced, and he is now in line for a shot at the heavyweight crown.
In this exclusive “On The Ropes” interview with Deontay Wilder, I discuss with him the success he had in 2013, and talk with him about his position in the sport. “The Bronze Bomber” also talked about a highly ranked contender who has been calling him out in the press, Tyson Fury, and talks about how he thinks a fight with him would play out. Additionally Wilder gives his views on Wladimir Klitschko and sends out a message to his critics. Here is what Deontay Wilder had to say.
Jenna J: Deontay, you received a lot of attention from the boxing fans last year as you went 4-0 with 4 knocks out. How did you feel about your progress last year?
Deontay Wilder: The year I had, I feel it went great. I feel my team has been doing a tremendous job. Like I said before, we have a plan and we stayed with the plan, everything has been going good with the plan and I’m excited. I’m more excited about this year, a lot of things have been going on and I’m super excited, I can’t wait to start it off.
I’ve been patient, believe me, I’ve been super patient, there’s a lot of moves that I want or wanted to make, but that’s why I established a team, that’s what I pay those guys for and at the end of the day, everybody comes together and we come out with a plan and we go with it.
Jenna: Speaking of the plan, Deontay, Richard Shafer said after your last fight that he wanted you to fight for the vacant WBC belt. Are you disappointed that Chris Arreola and Bermane Stivene will be fighting for it?
Wilder: No, I’m not disappointed at all. I’m not disappointed for the simple fact that whoever is the winner of that, you’re listening to the guy that I will be fighting for it next. So my message to them, whether it’s Chris or Bermane, enjoy the belt while you have it because you got another hungry beast lined up next that’s coming to take it from you. So cuddle up with it at night, you better lay with it, do whatever you want to do with it and enjoy it while you can because I’m coming, I’m coming for that.
Jenna: Deontay, a lot of heavyweight guests have appeared on this show as of late, and they all have been mentioning your name. What do you think about a lot of the top contenders calling you out?
Wilder: Once I get this belt, everybody is gonna be in line, everybody is gonna be entitled to fight. I get tired of the back and forth, I feel like fighters are some of the biggest actors. Some of them you can come to and you can call them straight out, “Yo, This is what we want to fight” and they’ll go back and say, “Well they didn’t do this and that.” They don’t wanna make themselves look bad.
I feel that’s the only key to this whole maze of all these fighters. I feel that that once I have something that everybody wants, then I don’t have to exchange words. We don’t have to go back and forth, now I’m not really coming to you, y’all are coming to us. That’s why it’s a big factor for us to get this title.
Jenna: Tyson Fury has been the most vocal about you and has been tossing quite a few insults your way over Twitter. What do you think about the way Fury has been pursuing a fight with you?
Wilder: Well you know, you gotta hype yourself up, you gotta sell the show before it happens, you gotta get the fans hyped up. Me and him have been going back and forth on Twitter, I laugh at everything, I don’t take nothing personal no matter what anybody says, I’m laughing and I’ll write back.
We definitely hyped the fight, we can build the fight up. In regards to that, even though we’re building it up, it’s gonna happen, every word that I say, I mean, I ain’t playing. Once I get in that ring, I’m a totally different beast, I can play around and joke around with you outside the ring, I can be the nicest person a person can ever meet outside the ring, but once you get the guts to go and step inside the ring with me, it’s like I don’t know you no more.
I’m coming to knock your head off your shoulders, I’m coming to fight, so when me and Tyson do get the chance to fight, and I really believe deep down he’s scared of me, he knows the power. I don’t care who you put in the ring with me, I’m gonna get them out of there, everybody they put in the ring with me, I don’t care where they came from, what their record was, I don’t care about any of that.
Jenna: The thing that Fury has criticized most is the level of your opponents that you have knocked out, what do you have to say about that criticism he made?
Wilder: There’s nothing easy about knocking somebody out, some people don’t understand it, but you can’t put a reason behind why somebody got knocked out, you just can’t pick someone off the street and think you’re gonna knock them out. I’ll put my uncle Leeroy in there and you ain’t gonna knock him out, and he ain’t got no kind of boxing skill, but he got heart and he got ability and that’s the thing that I got.
I got super heart, I got ability, I got courage, and I got the will to do it. That’s what got me through boxing from the start, all the way to now. I didn’t have skills in the amateurs, I fought off heart and got all the way to the Olympics, won a medal with a year and a half of experience, only 30 some bouts.
To go to the Olympics, and just to medal in bronze, all that off heart, you know, I had heart first and foremost, and once I became pro, I’m a totally different beast. So anybody that steps in the ring, I’m coming to knock your head off, that’s just plain and simple.
When the time comes for me and Tyson to fight, believe me, the fight is not gonna end off a decision, I dont care if it’s here in the United States or over there in the UK, it’s not gonna end on a decision. Someone is gonna get severely hurt, somebody is gonna get brutally hurt, somebody ain’t gonna be able to fight the next fight, and I’m not talking about myself. I mean business.
Jenna: Do you think you have a target on your back?
Wilder: Definitely, and I love it. I love to be the target, I love to have the target on my back because everybody’s jealous, everybody’s jealous of what I’m doing and how I’ve done it, because the can’t do it.
All these guys that are talking, it’s all great publicity for me, every time I hear one talk, I’m hold my hand up and I’m like, “Yes, keep talking about me,” because it’s only making me bigger, it’s only making me better.
When that time comes, when the people think they have a remedy for me, when they think they have the key to stopping me, they’ll all be confused. I’ll show them, once you get in the ring, it’s not all that you see. What you see outside, it ain’t what it is inside the ring, I promise you that.
Jenna: Wladimir Klitschko is the champion of the weight class, do you see a showdown with him in your future?
Wilder: I’m definitely looking forward to fighting him sometime in the future, me having titles, him having titles, and coming to see who can be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
That’s always been one of my goals in the sport as a professional and I’m sure he wants to unify all the titles of the world too. What great show it would be, if he had all his belt and I have the remaining other belts and we trying to unify all the titles, that would be a remarkable fight.
Jenna: Deontay, you have spoken about your doubters, is there a message you would like to pass along to them about why you will prove them wrong?
Wilder: I just want to tell the critics that when God has something for you, when he blesses you with a talent, no matter what you say or who comes in front of me, they won’t be able to stop it. What God has for you — is for you.
My motto always is, if you give God the glory, he will get you the victory and nobody will ever stop that, no matter what your occupation is, whether it’s fighting, whether you’re a doctor, whether you’re a student in college, if you give God the glory, he will get you the victory.