Former WBC World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder has granted his first interview since the aftermath of his loss to Tyson Fury in February.
Wilder, who lost his crown to Fury via seventh-round TKO in their anticipated rematch, spoke to The PBC Podcast regarding what he believes caused the defeat, recovery from bicep surgery and the changes he’ll be making ahead of their third bout (the first ended in a draw) which is slated for October.
“People that know boxing know that wasn’t Deontay Wilder that night. I was a zombie that night. Like I said I can’t talk about a lot of things, but it wasn’t Deontay Wilder that night,” Wilder told co-hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Michael Rosenthal. “You can tell from the mask to my reaction to certain things I was doing in the ring. You can look from the first fight to the second fight and see it was two different people. That night, a guy who from the first bell was in retreat mode to a guy who, in the first fight, from the first bell was on the hunt. You don’t go backward, you go forward.”
Wilder was the aggressor in their first encounter, in December 2018, dropping Fury twice. However, it was Fury who came forward in the rematch, scoring two knockdowns of his own and ultimately stopping Wilder in seven to claim the WBC crown.
Wilder says Fury’s aggression didn’t catch him off-guard.
“No, I wasn’t surprised at all. I couldn’t really…it’s hard to explain. I was more in retreat mode, it was like I wasn’t even there…I wasn’t there. That’s all I can tell you, from the start, I wasn’t there,” he explained. “But it’s going to be alright, trust me. I’m just looking forward to coming back in there and doing what I have to do. I don’t want to say too much. I don’t want to feel like I’m making excuses or anything like that. I just want the people to know that I’m happy and in full health and I’m coming back stronger than ever.”
Wilder is currently in his home state of Alabama with his family, on the mend from recent surgery on his left biceps.
“Recovery’s going well,” Wilder said on The PBC Podcast. “I’m in [physical] therapy. I end up injuring it during my last fight, somewhere up in there. But everything’s going great with it. You know, that’s another thing, I’m just focusing on recovery, getting myself back to full health and getting ready to [come back]. Hopefully this corona stuff will be out the way and we can get back to camp, and get ready to go again sometime at the end of the year.”
The former champion believes the time spent sequestered from others has helped rejuvenate him–and sparked a hunger he hasn’t had since prior to becoming world champion.
“Right now, I’ve just been sitting back and getting [taken] care of,” Wilder said, “which that’s not a bad position, either, now, you know? Getting taken care of, all my meals have been prepared special for me and brought to me. Just a lot of catering right now, you know, between my fiancée and all the kids that I got around me. You know, it’s been beautiful, man. Like I said, it’s nothing I can complain about at this moment in time. I know we’re all, in the world, going through something together.
“In life, many people lose more than they win. The thing about losing is that some people don’t know how to bounce back after a loss in life. That’s why when people win all the time people want to see them lose. Not because they don’t want you to win all the time, but I look at it as they wanna see how that person gets up. How do you get off the ground from losing? I always tell people that I may have lost in the ring, but I’m winning in life. It’s two different things.
“I take this time to sit back and it makes me even hungrier. I’m just looking forward to coming back in there and doing what I have to do. I don’t want to say too much. I don’t want to feel like I’m making excuses or anything like that. I just want the people to know that I’m happy and in full health and I’m coming back stronger than ever.”