World heavyweight champion Wilder to fight in Kenya
Unbeaten heavyweight Deontay Wilder has revealed intentions of visiting Kenya in May over possible boxing bouts in the country with a trip to Middle East state, Jordan next year also on the cards.
Amid the exit of defending IAAF World Youth (World Under 18) champions USA from the Nairobi 2017 over security concerns, the 31-year-old American, who owns the World Boxing Council (WBC) crown maintained he would go anywhere in the world “if it’s safe”.
The USA Track and Field (USTAF) announced February that Team USA would not send a delegation of athletes to the last edition of the global showpiece scheduled for July 12 to 16 in Nairobi, with the the U.S. Department of State giving Kenya a crime and terrorism rating of “Critical”; the highest level possible.
After failed doping tests scuttled two prior title fights, Wilder does insist on Nevada-style drug tests for any foe.
“To get two of them, that’s mind blowing,” he said. “You better be clean by the time you fight me ’cause we’re going to find out and even if you do I’ll still whoop you.”
Ahead of his visit, Wilder will serve as a television analyst when Britain’s unbeaten Joshua defends his International Boxing Federation crown and vies for the vacant World Boxing Association title against Klitschko before a sellout crowd of more than 90,000.
“I’m excited to be going to England,” Wilder said. “I’m looking forward to getting my own bird’s eye view of both fighters for a future fight. I’m definitely going over there to scout. I’m looking for a fighting partner.”
When it comes to picking a winner, Wilder is torn, saying, “My heart goes to Joshua but my mind says Klitschko.”
Wilder, 38-0 with 37 knockouts, has owned the WBC crown for two years and wants a July fight with New Zealand’s unbeaten Joseph Parker, the World Boxing Organization champion, with that winner to meet the Joshua-Klitschko victor.
“Whoever unifies is going to bring another era to the heavyweight division — one name, one champion, once and for all. Undisputed. It’s going to be better for boxing. You’ll see a different atmosphere,” Wilder said.
“I’m confident I’m the best in the division. I will unify the division. I’m just being patient and waiting for my time to come.”
Parker, 22-0 with 18 knockouts, had a planned May fight against Britain’s Hughie Fury called off on Saturday.
“I want Parker in July,” Wilder said. “Why not? He don’t have any opponent now. Let’s unify. Let’s make it happen. It makes so much sense.
“What would be better than me fighting Parker and then at the end of the year fighting for one undisputed title? I’m looking forward to unifying this division and bringing it back to America.”
– ‘Joshua has flaws’ –
Wilder took some verbal swipes at Joshua and Klitschko, citing the Englishman’s past foes as lackluster and the ex-champion as possibly too far past his prime.
“There’s a lot of flaws Joshua has,” Wilder said. “He’s still young in the game. He’s going off the physique and the height. If you deep down soul search and look at his resume, you’ll get your answer.
“He has got the power. At any given time he can get you out of there. He’s definitely going to have to move and take angles with Klitschko… but I think he has a great chance.”
Klitschko, who used Wilder as a sparring partner in more than 50 rounds, is 41 and lost his title to Tyson Fury in his most recent fight 17 months ago because, Wilder says, “he didn’t throw no damn punches”.
“I hope Klitschko brings Klitschko. I think he’s ready. He’s going to show a lot of things. He’s going to teach Joshua a lot of things in the ring as well. Sometimes you have to let them know ‘I’m still the beast, I’m still the monster’.”
-Additional reporting by AFP.
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