Deontay Wilder Training for Rumored June 1st Fight Against Zhang in Riyadh

By Robert Segal - 04/11/2024 - Comments

Deontay Wilder is back in the gym training for what is rumored to be a fight against former WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhilei Zhang on June 1st in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Wilder Needs a Change of Strategy

If this fight happens, Wilder vs. Zhang will be fighting on the undercard of the light heavyweight undisputed match between Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol. Deontay has to let his hands go in this fight and not fight timidly like he did in his loss to Joseph Parker.

It’s not going to work for Deontay if he moves for three minutes of every round, thinking he’ll eventually get the knockout or be given a decision. Against Parker, Wilder looked washed, a classic example of a fighter that can no longer pull the trigger on his punches.

A Path to Joshua

Wilder cannot afford to lose this fight if he wants to keep alive his hopes for a lucrative clash against Anthony Joshua and a fourth match-up against Tyson Fury.

If Wilder wins, he’ll be in the running for a fight against Joshua, and that would be a significant payday for him, especially if it takes place in Saudi Arabia. Wilder has a reported net worth estimated at $50 million. That number could grow if he he can get a fight against Joshua.

Shared Setbacks & Age

The former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) and Zhang (26-2-1, 21 KOs) share two things in common with them coming off losses to Joseph Parker, and both guys up there in age.

They both made Parker look better than he actually is by not throwing punches and fighting like they were afraid to gas out. The 38-year-old Wilder fought like he was afraid of Parker and wasted time moving the entire fight.

It’s not surprising that ‘The Bronze Bomber’ Wilder turned in a poor performance against Parker because he’d been fighting just once a year since 2020, and that’s just not nearly enough for him to stay sharp, on top of the sport.

Wilder has made a lot of money from his three fights against Tyson Fury, and he’s treated his career like a part-time job instead of doing it full-time like he’d been earlier.

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