WBC heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder, is looking to have a career defining year in 2017. ‘The Bronze Bomber’ hopes this year will see him unify the titles and solidify himself as the number one heavyweight in the world. Last year saw Wilder defend his title twice, but end the year with an injury. With the heavyweight title picture being wide open after years of being stale, 2017 could see some of the most exciting match-ups in over a decade.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Deontay Wilder, I discuss with him his upcoming title defense against Andrzej Wawrzyk. Wilder talks about how he hopes to perform and what he expects from 2017. Deontay shares his thoughts on the heavyweight division’s recent explosion and his views on Joshua vs. Klitschko. Additionally, Wilder speaks on his experience sparring Wladimir Klitschko and gives his opinion on Tyson Fury’s future. Here is what Deontay Wilder had to say.
Jenna J: You’re going to be taking on Andrzej Wawrzyk on February 25th. Can you tell me a little about your opponent?
Deontay Wilder: I don’t know too much about him. I know about his last fight with Alexander Povetkin and the result. He’s about 6’5, 230lbs. He’s a tough Polish guy, most Poland fighters are pretty tough. That’s the only thing I really know about him.
We thought he was a great candidate to come back to test my broken hand. I’m coming back from two major injuries that were very serious, I tore my bicep and I tore my hand, so this is going to be an interesting fight to see if my hand holds up. The doctor said it was 100% but we all know that it’s going to be different when I apply force to my hand. We all know that for every action there is a reaction and once I punch him in the face we’re going to see if my hand can hold up.
Jenna J: You are going to be fighting again in Alabama. How do you feel about constantly bringing it home for your fans?
Deontay Wilder: I feel good, it’s always great and a pleasure to come back home and fight. Home is where the heart is and I enjoy being around with my Alabamians when I’m here. They always bring excitement, they always bring energy and it’s always great. It’s always great to see smiling faces that I haven’t seen in a long time. I’m excited, I can’t wait.
Jenna J: What do you think about the heavyweight division fracturing in terms of the titles?
Deontay Wilder: I’m excited about getting back in there and putting my two cents up in it and taking off. I want to unify the division and in 2017 there’s a big opportunity and a big chance that I can unify the division. We are working hard to attain that. There are a lot of things with the political side of boxing but we think we can get everything worked out, whether it’s working with other people, different networks, different fighters. We’re trying to make everything possible for 2017 so I can unify the division so they can have one face and one name in all the titles, that person being Deontay Wilder.
Jenna J: Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua are set to fight April 29th, who are you favoring in that match?
Deontay Wilder: We’ll see, there’s a lot that can be said about this fight as far as who wins and who doesn’t, but we’re only going to know until they get in the ring. My heart is for Joshua but my mind is always for Klitschko. We can’t count Klitschko out, I don’t think Joshua has had the well enough training or experience for Klitschko in my opinion.
I’m not saying that Joshua would lose off of that but when you’re fighting a certain type of caliber of fighters and then you move all the way up to the guy who at one point in time was the ruler of the division and held the belts for a long time, it’s a big leap. We will see, maybe they got an idea or a plan that they are going to stand by, we’ll see what happens. It’s great that those guys are fighting, just to get the ball rolling.
Jenna J: You had experience sparring Wladimir Klitschko in the past, what did you learn from being in the ring with him?
Deontay Wilder: When I was in there with him, I just learned that he’s very competitive. If you come hard, he tries to come back harder. It’s all about determining the will and who wants it the most when you’re in the ring facing Klitschko. He still has loopholes in his game but we all do.
When a fighter discovers certain weaknesses in a fight, he himself has to execute those loopholes, but if you can’t do it, it’s something that’s just there. We all have different little holes in our game, we’re going to see if Joshua can execute the things that he needs to do in Klitschko’s territory. It’s going to be a great fight and I’m looking forward to watching it. I may even be there, I’m not sure yet.
Jenna J: One fighter that was getting a lot of attention in terms of fighting you was Tyson Fury. He had a rough 2016 and didn’t fight at all. Based on what you know about him, do you think he will be able to rebound and get back into the ring?
Deontay Wilder: Most definitely, he will definitely get back in the boxing ring, that’s for sure. He wasn’t out because of any punishment he took in the ring, he’s out for a particular personal reason. With that being said, he will definitely return.
Will he be as focused as he was the first time? He played around a lot the first time but it got him to where he is. I want to know if he can get back into that focus mode after accomplishing a big goal of his that he always wanted to do. Does he have any motivation? Does he have the determination to climb even further up the ladder? That will be up to Tyson and his people and for us to find out what they got in their plans. When he returns, he will have the likes of me waiting on him, when he’s ready