Recently, unbeaten Cuban knockout artist Luis Ortiz and former world title challenger, Russia’s Alexander Povetkin, have failed drug tests when each had a fight scheduled with Wilder.
After Ortiz’s failed test towards the end of 2017, Wilder begrudgingly granted a rematch to Bermane Stiverne last November in Brooklyn, NY and sent shock waves all the way to the UK by pulverizing Stiverne in one round, making fans everywhere clamor for a showdown between Wilder and IBF and WBA champion, Anthony Joshua.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said on social media he believes the bout will take place in 2018.
Meanwhile on March 3 back in Brooklyn, Wilder and Ortiz will finally meet in what appears to be a compelling bout given the manner both men have disposed of recent opponents. For Wilder, the true test may be how he will refrain from not looking past the Cuban Heavyweight to what a matchup with Joshua would look like on a world stage and all the riches that will follow.
Ortiz has proven to be a dangerous foe and knows this can be a once in a lifetime opportunity to capture the Heavyweight title and change his life forever. Sitting down with Round By Round Boxing in New York City when Showtime Sports and PBC unveiled their lineup of main event bouts for the first half of the year, Wilder said he is not about to let Ortiz have his day in the sun.
Vladimir Lik: The knockout of Stiverne was so sensational, do you feel you need to do something equally sensational against Ortiz or else it could look like a let down?
Deontay Wilder: I don’t focus on what I have to do to impress people. Deontay does what he has to do and what he needs to do. Pretty win or ugly win, it all equals a win. First round knockout or last round I must knock him out. I need to knock him out. I will knock him out. I shall knock him out.
VL: Do you believe you will receive credit if you knock out Ortiz or will people bring up his age and other issues?
DW: I never got credit with anyone. It’s laughable to me. I don’t take nothing personal especially in the fight game because most people would never even get in the ring and they don’t have the skill and heart to do it. It don’t matter how tall and mean you look when it comes to walking to the ring. So when people say certain things it don’t bother me. I don’t even see everything. Sometimes my brother show me stuff and if it’s funny I am laughing too. If no one gives me credit that’s fine. That’s their opinion and let them go on with their miserable life. Remember when I fought Stiverne the first time? People already doubted me before the fight. They said he’s better than me, he fought better competition than me and he was going to beat me. Then when I beat his ass what did they do? They tried to discredit me, said he’s a bum. People don’t want me to fight Ortiz because they don’t want to see me fight one of the best and then beat him in great fashion. They want to continue to see these guys fail drug tests and they don’t want to ever say I beat someone good. I will knock him [Ortiz] out and I will show him what it feels like to have his back on the canvas. After I knock him out then we are going for Joshua. If Joshua still wants to run scared we will go to the next guy.
VL: Deontay, does it cross your mind “what if” Ortiz happens to fail another drug test before March 3?
DW: If he fails this drug test I will fly to Miami to whoop his ass. Ticket sales are going great. Hotels are selling out. People are very excited especially after what I did to Stiverne. This makes this fight even better. That’s why I chose him again. I seen the hype with Ortiz the first time. This is a big event for him. This is a big blessing for him. This is chance for him to be the first Cuban Heavyweight champion of the world, which is not going to happen because I am going to break his dreams. There is no fighter who will be first anything against Deontay Wilder and I am just confident.
VL: You seem to be extra confident for this bout?
DW: A lot of fighters are scared of my confidence. A lot of fighters like Anthony Joshua are very scared. I had a hard life. Not the hardest life of all, but I haven’t had one thing given to me, not one thing. Here am I very confident in what I say and do and I will do what I say.
VL: What kind of chance do you give Joseph Parker against Joshua?
DW: I give Parker a hell of a chance. He moves well–has good footwork. I know Parker, most of us guys talk. As long as he keeps his head movement and throws his punches he definitely has a chance, but if it goes to the scorecards they won’t give it to him. He gon’ have to knock Anthony Joshua out. And, I don’t want that to happen. Parker, sorry brother, you looking at the baddest man on the planet.
VL: Will you be ringside for that fight?
DW: I may be there. But, I want a guarantee! I’m tired of go fu**ing places and then they indecisive. You got managers and promoters saying one thing, but the fighter is saying something else. The fighter doesn’t even know what’s going on. It’s like with the offer thing. Joshua keeps saying we didn’t offer them anything. What the hell you talking about? Eddie Hearn and his dad came down here for what? We didn’t come here to talk about no fu**ing Dillian Whyte. I don’t know what they keep telling this boy, but Joshua been misguided, he’s been told lies. That’s why he sounds so crazy when he does interviews because he doesn’t know what the f**k is going on. We want him! We want to fight him and we want to do it ASAP. We will fight him in America! We will go to UK! I’ll travel to fight him in Africa if he want to do it there. No matter where, I want that fight. He said on TV we will fight in Vegas. He said he will travel here with his mates and have a vacation, then next day he says he wants to stay in England. Bro! 70,000 people look good in a small country, but you ain’t getting the money compared to here when you have 20,000 people. You make your money here in America. The Mecca of Boxing is here in America. Choose your battle and place wisely. Wherever makes him comfortable that he thinks he can beat me I will be there.
VL: If the Joshua fight does not happen next does the division have enough competition to excite you?
DW: Yes. Always. Back when the Klitschkos were around there was no push to promote these Heavyweights until l I came along. When I came along I had to take the fu**ing wheel and drive my own car. I had to promote, I had to come out and speak how I feel and wake people up because what I say, I mean it. Anyone who thinks I’m playing about what I say…even when I talk about taking a person’s life. I mean it! I mean it! How do people feel uncomfortable in a gladiator sport? This is a sport we decided to do and fans, yeah you pay your money, but I’m risking my life. Excuse me for your little money ‘cuz you want to sit in the front row, but my life is worth more than the $600 you spend so let me do what I do, while you sit back enjoy the fight and watch me knock this mother fu**er out.
VL: Do you feel you are still improving as a boxer?
DW: I definitely feel like I’m getting better. Although I just walked into my prime. The last fight the way I did things in the ring. I actually feel it wasn’t me. This will sound crazy to you, but I wasn’t even in my own body. I was outside watching my body do what it did to Stiverne. It’s like having tunnel vision then when I knocked him it out everything came back to life in the ring. It was like I’m possessed or something. It’s dangerous. I don’t know where it comes from. I have a killer instinct and its natural for me. A lot of guys find things in their opponent just to get mad. But with me, I don’t have to know you, I don’t have to even dislike you to whup your ass. It comes on just like that. And when it comes on, the only person who can stop me is me. If something breaks out here no man in here will be able to stop me. I want to be respected. I am a lovable guy. I am silly and goofy guy. I love to take care of my family.
Deontay Wilder defends his WBC Heavyweight title against Luis Ortiz on Saturday, March 3, 2018 live on Showtime Championship Boxing from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
Header photo Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing