Deontay Wilder is expected to make a return to the ring against Robert Helenius on October 15th in Brooklyn, as first reported by Boxing Scene. After a period in the abysses of deep reflection, contemplation, and self-introspection as to whether he should continue.
Is Deontay Wilder still a man to be feared?
Put simply, Deontay Wilder has had to think long and hard about whether he wants to fight on. He’s chosen to come back, highlighting that the allure of boxing and regaining the heavyweight championship was too strong.
However, Tyson Fury outboxed him in the first fight, dismantled him in the second and outbattled him in the third, inflicting 5 knockdowns on Deontay Wilder over the course of their last two fights. Tyson Fury is one of a kind in many ways, but he did expose the fallacy of Deontay Wilder’s ascent to the top.
He is one heck of a puncher and a fighter with a lethal capacity to inflict damage, but he lacks a well-developed boxing IQ. He struggles to box on the outside, doesn’t have the best of defences and is a bit one-dimensional, in the sense that his skills as a knockout artist far outweigh his skills as a boxer.
And are these shortcomings rather than the knockdowns, that will help to ease the nerves of Helenius and other heavyweights who choose to face the Bronze Bomber?
When will Deontay Wilder fight next?
But with another Tyson Fury fight surely out of the picture, the question should really be reversed. Deontay Wilder may not be blessed or built with boxing finesse, but do the other heavyweights have the boxing skills to evade Deontay Wilder’s big right hand and keep him off them for long enough to crack away at him?
The obvious answer to that conundrum would be the boxing technician Oleksandr Usyk. He has shown at cruiserweight that he can outbox over 12 rounds the fiercest of punchers in the division at the time they fought in Murat Gassiev.
Furthermore, against Derek Chisora, he already showcased a game plan of elusiveness that foiled the wild, bad intentions of Del Boy, which at least bears some similarities aesthetically with Deontay Wilder’s style. But to state the obvious, Deontay Wilder has a lot more power than both those men.
So, at the crux of it, Deontay Wilder will always invoke terror in heavyweights’ minds for as long as his career lasts, given a singular lapse of concentration and suddenly he can flip a fight on its head like a coin.
But he will return to the ring against Helenius without the air of invincibility he once liked to exude and perhaps we became swept up in. Strip away the power and he is very raw. That will always be easier said than done and Tyson Fury will be one tough act to follow.
By Harry Duffy