Where Is Deontay Wilder? The Heavy Hitter Who Is Becoming The Invisible Man

'The Bronze Bomber' has fought once since October 2021
14:00, 21 Jun 2023

Where in the world is Deontay Wilder? Unlike the titular Carmen Sandiego of 1990s renown, ‘The Bronze Bomber’ is not deliberately trying to evade detection. Rather, the former WBC heavyweight champion is playing truant from the squared circle for numerous reasons, some understandable and some less so.

Wilder’s 2021 TKO loss to Tyson Fury was as good as defeats get. While the 11th-round stoppage loss was brutal and undoubtedly physically hurtful, Wilder came out with his reputation enhanced. Unlike his tame seventh-round defeat to the same foe the year before, Wilder took Fury to the wire. The bout was one of the most thrilling ever contested in heavyweight history. ‘The Bronze Bomber’ may have emerged with the L, but people wanted to see more of him.


But they didn’t get that chance. Not for a year at least. While Wilder toyed with retirement, the boxing public that once clamoured for him moved on. Oleksandr Usyk filled the best of the rest void that he had left behind, ascending to unified champion in his absence. Wilder’s heroics against Fury faded as the division was rapt by new talking points and major fights.

Wilder did emerge from his self-imposed exile last October, over a year after Fury had bested him. A crushing first-round knockout of fringe contender Robert Helenius reminded the public what they’d been missing. There is nothing in boxing quite as easily-embraced as a heavyweight knockout puncher. The absence was forgotten. Wilder was back.

Until he wasn’t. Early noises were promising, with a mouthwatering face-off against former champion Andy Ruiz Jr touted. Two men who had worn title belts in an era largely defined by Brits Fury and Anthony Joshua, such a fight would have smoothed the way back to the top for the winner. As is often the case when boxing is presented with a fight that makes this much sense, the bout is yet to happen.

Meanwhile, Wilder was pulled into the orbit of a political game of brinkmanship. Saudi Arabia made moves to host a heavyweight double-header of epic proportions. Matchroom chief Eddie Hearn confirmed talks were underway to stage Wilder vs Joshua on a fanciful card headlined by Fury vs Usyk for the undisputed championship. Such a show feels like a logistical nightmare but the talks are very real. Unfortunately, the procrastination involved has kept Wilder out of the ring at the exact point he needs to be fighting often.


Now Wilder’s trainer, former heavyweight contender Malik Scott, has pivoted back to Ruiz Jr for his man. While the Saudi show looms in the background, the idea of a scrap with ‘Destroyer’ is back on the table according to Scott via ES News.

Such a fight would make sense, because Wilder’s current trajectory isn’t working. Fighters fight and Wilder is wasting the last years of his career. At the age of 37, he likely won’t be operating at his best for much longer. While power is often the last thing to leave a fighter, the reflexes required to administer it are subject to the rigours of Father Time. Wilder can’t afford to sit on his hands waiting for gulf state riches that may never come. 

A win over Ruiz, in a fight where he would likely be favoured to have his hand raised, would light the match for the final stages of Wilder’s career. His campaign for a fourth fight with Fury is fruitless, given the fact he has never beaten the Manchester fighter in three attempts. But Joshua would be a money-spinner even in a more traditional boxing stronghold like London or Las Vegas. A shot at Usyk’s championship would be intriguing, as the Ukrainian stylist has never met someone with such brutal and decisive power. 

There are fights out there for Wilder, he just needs to start having them. Wilder has never been noted for stealth between the ropes, so why is he becoming invisible outside of them? The Alabaman hero will go down in history for what he’s achieved already. But it is clear from the way he toughed it out against Fury and dismantled Helenius that he is not finished just yet. Come on Deontay, let’s see what you’ve got.

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