WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has a not so suttle reminder for anyone wondering what he thinks of the status in boxing’s most prominent division: the road to being Undisputed champion comes through him.
In a wide-ranging interview with GQ Magazine and released Tuesday on their website, Wilder spoke his mind on several subjects:
— GQ Magazine (@GQMagazine) August 20, 2019
In a Q&A with author Sam Schube, Wilder talked about his upbringing in Alabama, where he had not even tried boxing until 21 years of age. Wilder has spoken publicly for years that necessity to provide for his family and his daughter, who was born with spina bifida, motivated him to become a fighter and make money, as soon as possible,
“And one thing I know I could do well was I could fight. I knew that I had to go to school for the other sports: football, basketball. You had to go to college. I didn’t have no time. My daughter is on her way. In nine months, she’ll be here. And eight months or so later, she was born premature—she came early. So I needed some outlets. I knew I could fight. I knew I could use my hands. And I went to a gym in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
I didn’t even know this gym was there. It’s been there for over 15 years. Never heard about it, because the town is not built off of that. It’s built off of football and basketball.”
Then, when the Q&A turned to his fight career and status in the heavyweight division, Wilder gave answers like he fights: with big punches and bad intentions everywhere.
When Schube brought up the monumental upset by Andy Ruiz of former Unified Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden in June and their potential rematch, Wilder said of the Californian Ruiz,
“First off, I congratulated him before, on my Instagram. I was very happy. I tuned into his post–press conference, and one thing that stuck to me was when he said, “Mama, we don’t have to suffer no more.” That’s big for me, because I come from a world of struggle. I come from a world of hardship, being the statistics of society. People telling you you’re not going to be nothing. But you’ve got to overcome something. And I overcame it all.
“I’m glad that he was able to accomplish the things that he did, and to be able to change his family’s life. And I pray for his continuing success…until you meet the king. I am the ultimate king of the heavyweight division. There will be one champion, one face, one name. And he goes by the name of Deontay Wilder.”
Obviously, Wilder and Ruiz are both promoted by Premier Boxing Champions and multi-millionaire Al Haymon. And, even though Matchroom Boxing and Joshua’s camp have announced December 7th for Saudi Arabia for their rematch, there are some that still believe that Ruiz may not actually fight Joshua next.
But instead, he may wind up in an Undisputed Title fight down the road with Wilder in 2020.
Wilder also did not hold back in criticizing Joshua’s performance June, including with what he believed was an attitude of surrender almost from the time that he faced adversity that night.
“And for me, he quit. He gave up. He was looking for a way out, because he didn’t have no answer for Ruiz. They overlooked him, and he had a lot of pressure coming here to America. This is the Mecca of boxing here, in America. All the money is here in America. And they overlooked it, because they was on their high horse, with what they was doing in England.”
It’s also important to note that Wilder has wanted to fight Joshua for the better part of three years only to have Joshua remain in the U.K. fighting lesser contenders but not wanting to risk unifying the title with him.
Finally, on being “The Heavyweight Champion of the World,” Wilder told GQ,
“Never gets old to hear the heavyweight champion of the world. It’s a great accomplishment. To be able to even claim it, first and foremost. Look, we have, what, over seven billion people in the world, and I could say that I am the heavyweight champion of the world. Out of billions and billions of people in the world, yeah, no one can do what I can do.
No one would dare to even get in that ring like that. It’s only a very small few. And that’s a big accomplishment for me. So I say it loud, I say it proud, with a smile on my face.”
Stylish publicity and photos aside, Wilder will be back in the ring rematching Victor Ortiz in November.