Boxing

Deontay Wilder will try to keep career alive against Zhilei Zhang

Deontay Wilder will try to keep career alive against Zhilei Zhang

Deontay Wilder acknowledged that his meeting with Zhilei Zhang on Saturday could be his last.

The 38-year-old former heavyweight champion is 1-3 in his last four fights, including two brutal knockout losses against then-titleholder Tyson Fury and a one-sided decision setback against Joseph Parker in his most recent fight.

Another “L” in the main event of the DAZN Pay-Per-View card in Saudi Arabia will signal that Wilder’s time has passed.

“It’s going to be a different fight this time around,” he told DAZN, “and if it’s not a different fight, then retirement is definitely highly considered.”

Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) is best known for his punching power and a three-fight series with Fury, a disputed draw in 2018 and the knockouts, in 2020 and 2021.

The second fight with Fury was painfully one-sided, as the bigger, more skillful man put Wilder down twice and stopped him in seven rounds. Wilder’s fighting spirit was on display in the third fight, in which he put Fury down twice but he went down three times himself and was stopped in 11.

Wilder followed that with a first-round knockout of Robert Helenius in 2022 — his only victory since 2019 — but he then fell flat against Parker after a 14-month layoff last December, losing badly on the cards.

Many wondered at that time whether he was in decline. He can dispel that notion against the capable Zhang — or confirm it.

Zhang (26-2-1, 21 KOs) also is coming off loss to Parker but he put the Kiwi down twice and lost a close decision. He stopped Joe Joyce in back-to-back fights before that.

“I’ve just to go in there and be me, do what I know I can do. I’ve trained hard for it. During the last fight I trained hard as well, but I could not pull the trigger. I saw certain things, but my body would not react,” said Wilder, using words sometimes associated with a shot fighter.

“That was because of the long layoff and certain things that we did in camp we could have changed up, certain things that I could have listened to. … That kind of messed certain things up.

“But all that’s in the lesson of things, and now we have a second opportunity to correct a lot of things.”

If he doesn’t, he’ll have to do some hard thinking.

Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie

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