The future of Deontay Wilder is unclear after he suffered a stunning defeat to Zhilei Zhang. Will he retire? Will he ever fight Anthony Joshua? How significant was Wilder’s career?

Zhang knocked out Wilder in the fifth round of their main event bout as part of a Matchroom Boxing versus Queensberry Promotions 5 v. 5, which Queensberry swept 5-0 at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

In the build-up to the fight, Wilder (43-4-1, 42 KOs), 38, hinted at retirement if he lost. After his defeat, questions about his future intensified. A loss to the 41-year-old Chinese heavyweight Zhang (27-2-1, 22 KOs) left Wilder’s future looking bleak. Wilder did not provide any public comments afterward, leaving no clues about his next move.

On the ProBox TV Live Post-Fight Recap, Wilder’s career was discussed, and Paulie Malignaggi said: “If you really look at how Wilder fought tonight, he fought to survive. He’s checked out mentally. He’s just looking to get a couple of paydays.”

“Deontay Wilder is not fighting with that killer instinct. He is overthinking, he is too defensive, not attack-minded enough.”

“Wilder was the most exciting heavyweight of his generation; the three Tyson Fury fights were super exciting. Wilder was one of the best heavyweights in a very solid heavyweight generation.”

“I loved that fight for a long time,” said Chris Algieri about a potential super-fight between Wilder and Anthony Joshua. “I didn’t love it last year because I actually thought Joshua wasn’t going to be competitive. Now, I don’t think Wilder will be competitive.”

“I don’t want to see that fight anymore. I don’t want to see Joshua, who actually has a full arsenal of punches, fighting a guy who is just going to back up and twitch and wait for a right hand, and if he doesn’t land it, he just crumbles, which is what we saw tonight.”

Another bout captured the panelists’ attention as the 26-year-old Daniel Dubois (21-2, 20 KOs) scored an eighth-round technical knockout of the 31-year-old Croatian heavyweight Filip Hrgovic (17-1, 14 KOs). That stood out for Malignaggi.

“I thought the performance of [Daniel] Dubois really cemented him as a star,” said Malignaggi. “For me, the shock is the way Dubois disposed of [Filip] Hrgovic in a fight in which I don’t think he was favored.”

“I think it was more of an overconfidence issue,” added Algieri. “To me, Hrgovic just looked too confident to the point of cocky.”