Deontay Wilder was 85-percent sure he was going to retire in the aftermath of his devastating defeat to Tyson Fury in their third WBC heavyweight title fight. (photo by Ryan Hafey)

Wilder felt there wasn’t much more he could accomplish that would make a return to the ring worthwhile. He was healthy, wealthy and content with what he had achieved after earning well into nine figures in purses and making 10 defenses of the WBC championship he held for five years.

It wasn’t until a statue of “The Bronze Bomber” was unveiled May 25 in his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama that Wilder was truly motivated to come back. The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist realized once he met many people he has inspired at his statue ceremony that he had more to give to this dangerous game.

Wilder, who will end a one-year layoff when he boxes Robert Helenius on October 15, revealed during a virtual press conference Tuesday that he intends to fight for three more years.

The former champion will turn 37 on October 22, but he got a late start in boxing and says he feels refreshed because he took a long break following Fury’s 11th-round knockout win last October 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Wilder didn’t set foot in a boxing gym until he was 20 and didn’t make his pro debut until the age of 23, thus the thought of fighting until he is 40 doesn’t seem unrealistic to him.

“I only wanna put in three more years, Ray,” Wilder told Premier Boxing Champions’ Ray Flores, who moderated the virtual press conference. “By the end of 40, we don’t have to be guessing about Deontay Wilder. We don’t have to assume. You hear it from the horse’s mouth now because, you know, a lot of media, they rather be first than being correct, especially when it pertains to me, you know?

“But you hear it right here from me. You know, I only wanna give it three more years, about till the end of 40, [before] turning 41. And then I wanna be done with it. I wanna pursue other things that I have set for myself and I wanna enjoy the rest of my life with my children, and build, build, build [on] this generational wealth.”

Most oddsmakers have installed Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) as a 7-1 favorite to beat Helenius (31-3, 20 KOs) in a 12-round fight that’ll headline a FOX Sports Pay-Per-View show at Barclays Center in Brooklyn ($74.99).

Finland’s Helenius hasn’t fought since last October 9, either. Helenius dominated Adam Kownacki (20-3, 15 KOs) on his way to a stoppage late in the sixth round of their rematch on the Fury-Wilder undercard.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.