Deontay Wilder appears to be inching closer to his ring return. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
The former WBC heavyweight champion of the world has been absent from the sport since suffering his second consecutive knockout defeat to Tyson Fury in October in what ended up being the 2021 fight of the year.
Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) has entertained the idea of retirement while weighing all of his options in recent months, but a comeback campaign appears to be imminent.
“Deontay is fighting in October; he’s coming back, and they’re talking about him fighting [Robert Helenius], and that’ll be in the States,” UK-based promoter Frank Warren told TalkSport. “I’d love to do that fight [between Wilder and Joe Joyce], but [Deontay is] coming off a bad knockout. There’s no doubt about that was a bad knockout against Tyson Fury, who was a tough fight for him.”
“The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius (31-3, 20 KOs) is one of the most sensible options for Wilder’s comeback fight.
The 38-year-old Helenius has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in his last two fights, knocking out then-unbeaten heavyweight contender Adam Kownacki twice in one-sided beatdowns.
Helenius is tied to Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, so staging a Wilder fight will be more feasible than most other fights.
Another opponent calling for a Wilder fight is Derek Chisora, but Wilder manager Shelly Finkel recently shot down the request.
“Derek Chisora? He just edged a split-decision over Kubrat Pulev, no way,” Finkel told Planet Sport. “Maybe the winner of [Oleksandr] Usyk and [Anthony] Joshua. I don’t know what Fury is doing? Maybe if Joshua wins it’s a huge fight in the UK [between those two] – there’s so many intangibles so we’re looking to see what happens in that fight [Usyk and Joshua].”
The 2008 Olympics bronze medalist Wilder will turn 37 years old in October.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.