WBC World heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder believes he will take the throne as the sport’s cash cow once Floyd Mayweather Jr. hangs up the gloves in September.
The Tuscaloosa, Alabama native (33-0 will make his first defense as champion in his home state against WBC No. 9 contender Eric Molina (23-2) on Saturday, in a fight that Wilder is expected to win with ease.
However, as recently as November 2014, Wladimir Klitschko, who holds three of the four major heavyweights belts, touted UK’s Anthony Joshua as the man who will take over the helms in an interview with Daily Mail.
“If he is going to keep doing what he is doing, he will be champion for sure,” Klitschko said.
At this stage in his career, Joshua is looking a lot like Wilder, who has knocked out or stopped every opponent in 13 fights, and all within the first three rounds.
It doesn’t seem to bother Wilder, though, who is unswerving in his belief that he is boxing’s Pied Piper, speaking with Sky Sports.
“Floyd Mayweather seems to be coming to the end. Boxing needs me to take over. I believe I can be the new exciting face.
“There is nothing better than the heavyweights to keep the boom going. The fans love the big men. Historically, ours is the sport’s marquee division and it’s great for the game that it is coming back to life.
“It’s also time to ring back the undisputed heavyweight championship to America, where it belongs.”
For the first time in his career this past January, Wilder went the distance with an opponent, but Bermane Stiverne sure paid the price for being so valiant.
Stiverne was hospitalized for two nights at University Medical Center following the brutal fight. He was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which muscle fibers die and release into the bloodstream.
Leading up to the fight, many in the boxing media, including ESPN’s Brian Campbell, questioned Wilder’s boxing skills.
“My prediction from Day 1 has been Stiverne by KO, and I stand by it. I also believe it comes after Round 4, for whatever that is worth.”
With Wilder’s performance, he earned the praise from doubters who didn’t believe he had the tools to adjust if he came across an opponent he couldn’t annihilate early, including Campbell.
“Wilder’s jab was the story, and he quieted doubters (including me) of both his chin and his ability to box; clearly had better gas tank,” Campbell said on Twitter following the fight.
Wilder has shown interest in a possible big man clash against UK’s Tyson Fury, but the 6’9 giant swerved for a possible opportunity for a fight against Wladimir Klitschko.
“I’ve been working on Tyson for about three years, and we had reached the point of negotiations, but the chance of a fight with Klitschko changed their plans.”
“Also, Klitschko and his team did not want one of their prospective opponents to be taken out of the mix by me beating Tyson. That’s okay with me because a fight with either of them – Wladimir in America or Fury in the UK – will be huge.”
A fight between Wilder and Joshua would undoubtedly have the world watching; a modern day Ali vs. Foreman type moment.
However, Joshua is not immediately thinking a fight with Wilder, but he would welcome it. Instead, he would like to take a swing at former WBA heavyweight titlist David Haye, who has been on the shelves for three years following numerous injuries.
“There is a big fight out there for me if David Haye makes his comeback,” Joshua said. “But, I would be happy to meet Deontay before that. He has raw power, but I believe I’m a better boxer.”