We haven’t heard as much from Deontay Wilder this year. And that’s a very surprising thing, considering that the past five or so years Wilder has been one of the biggest names and one of the best trash talkers in all of boxing.
Wilder, the former WBC heavyweight champion of the world, suffered a shocking and one-sided loss to Tyson Fury in February. In that fight he was dropped twice and battered Wilder around the ring. it was a shocking sight to see no doubt.
Wilder has been largely off of social media following the defeat, yet recent word has him being in “amazing physical shape” according to the once-beaten fighter’s protege Raphael Akpejiori.
Akpejiori is an unbeaten heavyweight puncher from Nigeria (7-0, 7 KO’s) and is apparently training with Wilder in Miami. The two share the same strength and conditioning coach and have been putting in work together.
“Based on what I know, the only person that can beat Deontay right now, is Deontay,” Akpejiori told Sky Sports during a recent conversation.
“He will beat Fury if he sticks to the game plan from his coaching staff, and I know that he has all the physical tools,” Akpejiori added. “Right now he is in amazing physical shape, that I can tell you for sure. You will see a completely different Deontay, mentally and physically in the ring, when that bell rings again for that third fight. That I can tell you.”
Wilder has certainly come under criticism for the manner in which he lost to Fury. Some questioned his conditioning after the fight, and others wondered if he was injured.
“You’re going to have to wait for Deontay to break it down and address those rumors,” Akpejiori said. “Listen, I can tell you from my conversations with Deontay that he was ready to fight Tyson Fury in July. The only reason why he didn’t fight Tyson Fury in July, was because the fight was moved due to the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown that came after that. He does the same workouts that we’ve been doing. I don’t know how somebody can be injured and do all that. It’s really hard stuff, I can tell you that for sure.”
If anything, it sounds like the old Deontay Wilder is coming back to form. In the first fight with Fury, he was able to score two knockdowns and savage a split draw.
And he seems to be very much ready for third fight.
“But concerning fighting Tyson Fury, he’s extremely confident,” said Akpejiori. “He’s very excited about that third fight. I can tell you for sure that he’s very hungry, and he’s trying to get back into the ring as soon as possible. He’s in great spirits, excited to get back to fight Tyson Fury.”
Recent rumors have also stated that the trilogy fight could be heading to Las Vegas later this year, per Top Rank’s Bob Arum.