Boxing fans and media alike can rest a little easier knowing that Deontay Wilder has come to grips with his latest defeat.
The former WBC heavyweight titlist released his first full statement following his repeat loss to lineal/WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in their memorable trilogy clash October 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Wilder offered a brief comment through publicists following his 11th round knockout loss, but was otherwise unavailable to media following their Pay-Per-View headliner as he was taken to nearby University Medical Center for precautionary measures and to treat a broken third metacarpal on his right hand.
Now home, rested and his head cleared following a brutal knockout loss, the Alabama native felt it was time to address the public.
“Wow, what a hell of a night,” Wilder stated in a post made available on his verified social media channels. “I would like to first and foremost thank God for allowing me to give the world another part of me that’s driven with passion and determination. I would like to thank my team and my fans for sticking by my side through this long process.
“I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t disappointed in the outcome but after reflecting on my journey, I now see that what God wanted me to experience is far greater than what I expected to happen.”
Wilder (42-2-1, 41KOs) was floored in round three before rallying back to twice drop England’s Fury in round four. It turned out to be his last threat of avenging the seventh-round stoppage he suffered last February, as Fury dominated the second half of the trilogy bout. Wilder was sent to the canvas again late in round ten and midway through round eleven, the last of which prompted referee Russell Mora to immediately stop the heavyweight championship bout.
The days that followed saw many in the industry take issue with Wilder’s refusal to accept Fury’s in-ring olive branch following their heavyweight slugfest, with Fury (31-0-1, 22KOs) himself publicly commenting on the lack of sportsmanship from Wilder. His stance—while understandable as the athlete directly involved in the event—was shared by several in the industry who saw fit to take up the cause. The feelings were intensified after a video circulated Thursday of the post-fight, in-corner exchange between the two.
The buildup to the third fight was contentious and divisive. A significant part of it was due to Wilder’s assortment of accusations and excuses made following the stoppage loss in their rematch, further magnified by the delay in getting to third fight which suffered two postponements in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The other side of the equation took issue with Fury’s repeated efforts to stall a contractually owed trilogy bout as the matter was heard before an independent arbitration judge who ultimately sided with Wilder. Plans for a July 24 clash were ruined after Fury tested positive for Covid, after which point it was learned that he was never fully vaccinated—a development that came in stark contrast to what was communicated to Wilder and his team, all of whom were vaccinated ahead of the planned fight.
The additional eleven-week delay in getting to the third act only further intensified the long-standing rivalry between the pair of heavyweight behemoths. The rescheduled October 9 date finally provided Wilder the chance to avenge his lone career defeat, faring no better than improving on his performance from the rematch—and arguably from the first fight in December 2018, which was fought to a disputed twelve-round, split decision draw—but still coming up well short in the end.
“We didn’t get the win but a wise man once said the victories are within the lessons,” lamented Wilder. “I’ve learned that sometimes you have to lose to win. Although, I wanted the win I enjoyed seeing the fans win even more. Hopefully, I proved that I am a true Warrior and a true King in this sport. Hopefully, WE proved that no matter how hard you get hit with trials and tribulations you can always pick yourself up to live and fight again for what you believe in.
“Last but not least I would like to congratulate Tyson Fury for his victory and thank you for the great historical memories that will last forever.”
Wilder has been placed on six-month medical suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), in line with manager Shelly Finkel’s post-fight claim of a targeted Spring 2022 ring return.
Fury made the first successful defense of the title he claimed from Wilder last February. The unbeaten champion is obligated to next face the winner of the October 30 interim WBC heavyweight title fight between Dillian Whyte and Otto Wallin.
The only exception permitted by the WBC is if Fury is in position to challenge newly crowned WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO champion Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13KOs) in an undisputed heavyweight championship clash. However, Usyk is contractually bound to a rematch with Anthony Joshua, whom he dethroned via unanimous decision September 25 in London.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox