American Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder hosted a media conference call to give his thoughts on Saturday’s heavyweight blockbuster between undefeated IBF Champion Anthony Joshua and long-reigning kingpin Wladimir Klitschko live on SHOWTIME® (4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT) from sold-out Wembley Stadium in London.
Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs), who won his WBC belt in January 2015 on SHOWTIME and has since made five defenses, will serve as an analyst for Sky Sports Box Office for Joshua vs. Klitschko.
The British sensation Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) and Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs) will unify the heavyweight division as they meet for Joshua’s IBF World Championship and the vacant WBA World Championship in front of record-setting 90,000 fans at Britain’s largest stadium.
Here is what Wilder had to say on the call on Monday:
“I love this fight for these guys. I love it for the sport of boxing. The fans seem to be well in-tune with it and I think this is a super fight for the heavyweight division.
“I can’t wait for it. I can’t wait to see what happens and hopefully those guys go in healthy and come out the same way. This is a very dangerous sport, especially when you’re trying to perform and put on a show.”
On what Wilder sees as vulnerabilities in Joshua…
“There’s a lot of flaws that Joshua has, but Joshua is still young in the game as well. A lot of people look at Joshua and they’re going off of his physique and they’re going off of the hype that their countryman has brought to them.
“If you really look deep down and soul search and look at his resume, with all of the guys he’s fought … that sometimes makes a person look busier than what he is. There’s a lot of flaws in all of us though, to be honest. Nobody will ever be perfect in the ring. We only try to be our best and that’s the only thing you should go off of.
“I am looking forward to this fight and I can’t wait. I want Klitschko to come in and fight. You can always be hyped for a big fight but it’s all going to boil down to what fighter is going to bring what to the fight. I think he’s ready and he’s going to show a lot of things. He’s going to teach Joshua a lot of different things in the ring, as well, and we’ll see if Joshua has any flaws or not.”
On potentially fighting the winner later this year…
“Hopefully. There are a lot of people that are involved in this. If it were just solely up to me then I’d be 1,000 percent confident, but it’s not just me. That’s what the fans want. I’ve been wanting to give the fans what they want my entire career. Unfortunately, I am one of those fighters that’s always getting the short end of the stick. I only can work with what I can work with.
“I am very confident that I am the best in this division. I am very confident that I will unify this division. I am very confident that I will retire on top, undefeated as well. I’m just waiting for my moment. I’ve been sitting patiently all of this time, even in the start of my career and I’m sitting patient now. I’m just looking forward to my turn.”
On why it’s important for him to be ringside in London…
“When you have guys that are competing against each other at the top, it’s only right for me to be there. I’m not just going out there to be on Sky Sports, I am for sure going there to scout. All the other heavyweights come to my fights. They’re not just there to be a fan. They’re there to scout and look for different openings and certain signs.
“I am definitely going over to scout. And maybe we can make a mega-unification bout.
“I want to go get [Joseph] Parker. Parker doesn’t have an opponent right now. I’m fresh. I’m ready and what would be better than me and Parker fighting for the unification and then have another unification where winner takes all at the end of the year? Then, 2018 you can start off the year with nothing but mandatories.
“The heavyweight division is getting exciting. This is the heavyweight division, and we’re already coming out of that dark place and we finally got light. Don’t take it back. Don’t go backwards when we’re moving so freshly forward. With that, I want to move it more forward. I want to give the fans what they want, and they want a unification. They want one champion and I’m trying to make that happen. So here I am Joseph Parker.”
On breaking down Joshua-Klitschko…
“With Klitschko I definitely feel that the teachings of Emanuel Steward are lacking a little bit, but he’s not to blame. Steward was a very, very smart trainer. The things that he could see and the things that he can get in the heads of the fighters, that was unbelievable. He wasn’t a great trainer for no reason and that’s when I thought Klitschko was the best when he had Emanuel in his corner. Not only when he’s inside of the ring but when he’s on the outside too. Now, I just feel since he’s gone, it’s more about what Wladimir wants to do, not what his trainers see.
“With Joshua, he’s got the height and he’s got the power. In the heavyweight division, you don’t need skills. As long as you have the power, that’s what makes up the heavyweight division. You’re in the game once you’ve got that power….They’re going to have to play a forward fight to feel a little bit of each other out.
“If Joshua wants to be successful, he’s definitely going to have to move and take angles and be smart with Klitschko. Because Klitschko is very smart, he’s been around the block, he’s got an excellent jab, and he’s going to set Joshua up. His smartness is going to play in a lot.
“Joshua is not as flexible. I don’t think he’s super athletic and doesn’t have that much coordination because of the stiffness. But he definitely has a great shot in this fight and I’d love to see what happens, and hopefully everything comes through with having a mega-fight at the end of the year.”
On Klitschko’s loss to Fury…
“Klitschko didn’t lose by not being able to compete with Tyson Fury, or do the things he had to do. He lost because he didn’t throw no damn punches. I want him to fight in this fight. I don’t want him to hold back, because Fury was bigger than him or this and that. Forget all of that. You got to go in there and fight. You’re the champ. You don’t care about nobody being bigger than you. You go in there and you forget all of that and defend your title because you’re the king and you’re not going to let nobody take it… And that’s how he should come in there.
“There’s a time and a place to be nice. You can’t always be nice. You’ve got to go in there and let them know ‘I’m still a monster, I’m still a beast, I’m still that lion and I’ll eat you up alive when I get you in there.’ And that’s just what he has to come to bring to the table.
“I’m so ready for this fight. I’m looking forward to what’s after this to come. I’m looking forward to unifying this division and bringing it back to America – where it once was and where it’s always going to remain once I bring all the belts. It’s going to be back, I promise you that.
“Age is only but a number and if you feel like you still have it in you and have confidence in yourself, then that’s what you’re going to do. The mind is a powerful thing to lose. And when you lose your mind, you lose your body.
“With Klitschko, he feels like he’s dedicated himself back to the sport and that’s why he says he’s obsessed. He’s obsessed with retaining his titles, he’s obsessed with rising in boxing again. He’s like a new fighter. He needed that loss to Tyson Fury because he forgot to be humble. He forgot about that.
“Now that he’s rebuilt himself, he’s got that hunger, that fire. At the end of the day, all that matters is on the night of the fight. He can come to us with another Tyson Fury fight, talking about height and weight, or he can bring that Klitschko like we’ve always seen with the jabs and setting up with the right hands… We’ll see what happens.”
On his prediction for the winner and why…
“I’m going to continue with my statement as I’ve been saying it. My heart is for Joshua, but my mind is for Klitschko. My heart is for Joshua because I would love to fight him – I think that would be a mega-fight. Even though Joshua is fighting Klitschko, people are still talking to this day about a Wilder and Joshua fight. It’s almost demanded. If this kid beats Klitschko it’s like the only fight he can have is me, because it’s been so demanded.
“My mind goes to Klitschko, because he’s very smart. People talk about age, but like I said, age can play an advantage too. Klitschko has seen every style there is…And when you see it again, you know how to handle it and adapt to it. You know what you got to do.
“He knew what he had to do against Fury, he just didn’t pull the trigger because he was scared of being punished. That was his fault. Now that’s a shame on him. Now he’s coming back for a second time for a title, so if he does it again, he’s going to need to give it up. For those reasons, my heart goes to Joshua but my mind goes to Klitschko.”