By Huck Allen: Fresh off his first round knockout of a woefully overmatched Robert Helenius last Saturday night, Deontay Wilder now says he wants to fight for a world title against unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk or battle Andy Ruiz Jr in a WBC eliminator.
Unfortunately, it seems obvious that Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) doesn’t wish to fight Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs) because he didn’t attend his fight against Helenius last night, and he’s not said a word in weeks about fighting him.
Wilder will likely have to settle for fighting former unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr next, a guy with fast hands and a good chin. On paper, it’s a tough match-up for Wilder because Ruiz is a much better fighter than the 38-year-old Helenius, and he’s not slow & old.
“I’m down for whatever. Whether it’s Andy Ruiz or Oleksandr Usyk,” said ‘The Bronze Bomber’ Wilder after knocking out Helenius. “Deontay Wilder is back; the excitement in the heavyweight division is back.”
It’s safe to say that Eddie Hearn won’t be asking Anthony Joshua if he’s interested in fighting Wilder next. After what we saw with Wilder’s power display against Helenius, Hearn will keep his struggling flagship fighter Joshua as far away from Deontay as possible.
Wilder’s other options for an interesting fight aren’t so good. Beyond fighting Ruiz, Wilder’s other possibilities come to a handful of less popular fighters that will be risky fights for him and won’t generate interest for pay-per-view purposes.
Those are all poor options for Wilder, leaving him with no choice but to take the risky fight with Andy Ruiz Jr if Usyk chooses not to face him.
Usyk has already said that he only wants to fight three more times before he retires. He listed Tyson Fury, Canelo Alvarez, and a farewell fight in Ukraine against a still-to-be-determined opponent. Predictably, Usyk won’t choose Wilder for his farewell fight because the chance of something going wrong would be too high.
Ruiz would be a good choice for Wilder, as long as he doesn’t let the short 6’2″ heavy-bodied ex-champion near enough to him to connect with his powerful hooks. In Ruiz’s last fight against 43-year-old Luis Ortiz, he dropped him three times en route to winning a 12 round decision.