Trainer Malik Scott remains hopeful that Deontay Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) will be able to demonstrate that his last outing against Joseph Parker on December 23 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was nothing more than a bad day at the office. 

The former WBC heavyweight champion will return to the ring on June 1 against Zhileli Zhang 26-2-1 (21KOs), who also lost in his last appearance to Parker on March 8, in the Matchroom vs Queensberry 5x5 bill between the promotional stables of British rivals Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren. 

Wilder will represent the Matchroom banner on a one-fight agreement and has been named Hearn’s official team captain.

At Monday’s press conference confirming the participants, Wilder said he had rediscovered his love for the sport again following his defeat to Parker two days before Christmas last year. 

Trainer Scott spoke to Seconds Out at yesterday’s press conference, insisting that Wilder struggled against Parker because he could not pull the trigger for his trademark right hand while paying dues to Parker and trainer Andy Lee for executing a great game plan. 

“Joseph Parker and Andy Lee had an incredible game plan. They did just enough to win the rounds,” Scott told Seconds Out. “Deontay was unable to pull the trigger and I’ve seen it happen to the best. But I believe him [Wilder] being ashamed of that performance – and this goes for me too, that’s a performance I’m ashamed of,” added Scott. 

The trainer remains hopeful that the destructive version of Wilder will himself on June 1, with the main objective being to take Zhang later into the fight to target the fitness concerns of the 40-year-old Chinese fighter. 

“If he [Wilder] now goes in and is the Deontay Wilder that I’m always bragging about to you guys, you’re going to see Zhang fall and it’s going to be a beautiful thing.

“Wilder is very artistic and violent. Zhang is a pop tart when he gets fatigued. He [Zhang] falls apart and he gets really scared. He almost would do anything not to get tired. He just doesn’t like getting into a vulnerable position when he’s tired. Our job is to take him into darkness. I believe Deontay is a much tougher man,” said Scott.