Deontay Wilder’s “Last Stand”: A Fight For His Boxing Life

By Michael Collins - 04/15/2024 - Comments

Deontay Wilder says his fight with Zhilei Zhang is a “last stand” for him, meaning he’ll retire if he loses for their 12-round contest on the Matchroom vs. Queensberry 5v5 event on June 1st in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

A Spiral of Losses

The former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) has lost three out of his last four fights since 2020. He’s coming off a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision defeat against Joseph Parker last December.

It was a bitter pill for Wilder to lose to Parker, as that was considered washed going into the contest after being knocked out by Joe Joyce in 2022 and strictly fighting scrubs ever since.

The sad part is Wilder didn’t even give himself a chance to win because he only threw a few punches and spent most of the fight moving.

That’s not how Wilder used to fight, and it was bizarre to see him moving away from a guy that Anthony Joshua dominated, knocked out by Joe Joyce, and even beaten by Dillian Whyte. I think Wilder would fight a lot differently if he had a second chance to fight Parker, but it’s too late now.

Eddie Hearn’s Gamble

Promoter Eddie Hearn believed in Wilder enough to sign him and make him the team captain for Matchroom. It’s just a one-fight deal, but if Wilder is victorious, who knows? Hearn could give him another contract.

Zhang (26-2-1, 21 KOs) is a big puncher, and he could KO Wilder if he lands one of his big shots. Wilder cannot afford to fight scared against Zhang as he did with Parker because Zhang will take advantage of that by walking him down and knocking him out. Zhang is a much better puncher than Tyson Fury, who twice knocked out Wilder, and he hit him with clubbing punches in both of those fights.

Wilder’s Grim Determination

“On the night of the fight, I’ll see if I got it or not. This fight, I’m holding it as my last stand, my last chance, and that’s what I’m taking it as,” said Deontay Wilder during today’s press conference for his June 1st fight against Zhilei Zhang on the 5v5 Matchroom vs. Queensberry event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“I’m just ready to do what I’m known to do to be the Wilder that I am. I lost my love for this business, I lost my hunger. But now I’m dealing with people that love the craziness of Wilder. I’m not playing around. I got nothing to lose,” said Deontay.

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