LONDON — Heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder will be on hand when Anthony Joshua will defend his version of the title against former longtime world champion Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday night, hoping to face the winner in a unification fight later this year.
Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) will be among 90,000 people at a sold-out Wembley Stadium in an official capacity as an analyst for the Sky Box Office telecast in the United Kingdom. He said he is also excited to watch Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) take on Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs) as a boxing fan as well as a potential opponent for the winner.
“When you have guys that are competing against each other at the top, it’s only right for me to be there,” Wilder said. “I’m not just going out there to be on Sky Sports. I am for sure going there to scout. All the other heavyweights come to my fights. They’re not just there to be a fan. They’re there to scout and look for different openings and certain signs. I am definitely going over to scout. And maybe we can make a mega-unification bout.”
Wilder, 31, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has made five successful title defenses since easily outpointing Bermane Stiverne to win the belt in January 2015, most recently stopping Gerald Washington in the fifth round on Feb. 25. For the entire time, Wilder has voiced his desire for a unification fight. He would love nothing more than to fight the winner later this year.
“Hopefully,” he said. “There are a lot of people that are involved in this. If it were just solely up to me, then I’d be 1,000 percent confident, but it’s not just me. That’s what the fans want. I’ve been wanting to give the fans what they want my entire career. Unfortunately, I am one of those fighters that’s always getting the short end of the stick. I only can work with what I can work with.
“I am very confident that I am the best in this division. I am very confident that I will unify this division. I am very confident that I will retire on top, undefeated as well. I’m just waiting for my moment. I’ve been sitting patiently all of this time, even in the start of my career, and I’m sitting patient now. I’m just looking forward to my turn.”
Wilder has also been linked to a possible unification fight with titleholder Joseph Parker, who was ringside for Wilder’s bout against Washington as their teams talked about the possibility. Wilder wants that fight as well, although Parker (22-0, 18 KOs) is scheduled to first defend May 6 in his home country of New Zealand against late replacement Razvan Cojanu (16-2, 9 KOs), who stepped in on two weeks’ notice for injured mandatory challenger Hughie Fury.
“I want to go get Parker,” Wilder said. “I’m fresh. I’m ready, and what would be better than me and Parker fighting for the unification and then have another unification where winner takes all at the end of the year. The heavyweight division is getting exciting. This is the heavyweight division, and we’re already coming out of that dark place, and we finally got light. I want to give the fans what they want, and they want a unification. They want one champion, and I’m trying to make that happen.”
Wilder also offered his take on Joshua-Klitschko, which will air in the United States live on Showtime beginning at 4:15 p.m. ET with a replay on HBO at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
“If Joshua wants to be successful, he’s definitely going to have to move and take angles and be smart with Klitschko because Klitschko is very smart, he’s been around the block, he’s got an excellent jab, and he’s going to set Joshua up,” Wilder said. “His smartness is going to play in a lot.
“Joshua is not as flexible. I don’t think he’s super athletic and doesn’t have that much coordination because of the stiffness. But he definitely has a great shot in this fight, and I’d love to see what happens, and hopefully everything comes through with having a megafight at the end of the year.”
As for his pick, Wilder added, “My heart is for Joshua, but my mind is for Klitschko. My heart is for Joshua because I would love to fight him — I think that would be a megafight. Even though Joshua is fighting Klitschko, people are still talking to this day about a Wilder and Joshua fight. It’s almost demanded. If this kid beats Klitschko, it’s like the only fight he can have is me, because it’s been so demanded.
“My mind goes to Klitschko, because he’s very smart. People talk about [his age, 41], but age can play an advantage, too. Klitschko has seen every style there is, and when you see it again, you know how to handle it and adapt to it. You know what you got to do.”