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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 23 January, 2020

Wilder: Overhyped Joshua's defeat was 'humiliation and embarrassment at the top of the class'

‘I’mma blame his promoter for bigging him up like that and always wanna be on the videos, always wanna do the interviews.’

Deontay Wilder celebrates his first-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale.
Deontay Wilder celebrates his first-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

WBC WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT champion Deontay Wilder says he would have been embarrassed if he had suffered the same type of defeat as Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden earlier this month, but claims he wasn’t surprised to see Andy Ruiz seize the other three major titles in what most considered a stunning upset of the big Briton.

‘The Bronze Bomber’ also accused Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, of bigging up his flagship fighter to a disproportionate degree, all of which he feels factored into the humiliating nature of ‘AJ”s first defeat as a professional.

Speaking to Scott Van Pelt on ESPN’s SportsCenter (transcribed by Bad Left Hook), Wilder also suggested that a long-awaited fight between him and Joshua is not quite dead in the water despite the latter’s recent loss.

“I mean, you know, I wasn’t surprised at all,” Wilder said of the Mexican-American’s sensational Madison Square Garden win. “I told my manager Shelly [Finkel] — I told him not to be surprised if Andy win, you know, ‘cause we was discussing him and I was thinking more so a 12-round fight… I never thought it would be, what was it, six or seven rounds? And it was amazing, you know? This is what boxing’s all about. You just can’t read a book by its cover.

“I always tell people I like to be the part instead of looking the part, because looking like you can do something don’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to do it. But actually having the heart and being the part, it’s a whole totally different thing and a lot of people looked past him [Ruiz]. I think they underestimated Andy as well because when they look at him they see this guy that looks outta shape, and he came in there, he had a gameplan, and he executed the gameplan and now we have a new champion just like that.

“[Ruiz] is a skilful fighter, and he was determined. There’s nothing like a man that’s determined, that has been knocked down. I tell people sometimes it’s alright to lose because people are already gonna expect you to get back up but they also wanna see how you get back up from being dropped down. That’s even in life in general itself, and this is his time to be knocked down, as far as Joshua’s concerned, and build himself up. But, you know, Ruiz, he’s always been skilful and he had his first title[shot] before against Joseph Parker and he end up coming short on that but he was more than ready for this opportunity.

“It makes it even better when you’ve got a guy in there that already looking past you because of the state that’s going on in boxing, and trying to get that most highly anticipated fight that was in the world, which would’ve been against I.

And you just can’t look past guys. And Joshua coming over for the first time in America, he’s been built up and boosted up so big, and you had to come over here and then fight a guy you’re looking past and get knocked out like that — man… I would’ve felt embarrassed. You know, he quit! The guy gave up in the ring. He got dropped four times and gave up.

Wilder went on to explain how he believed Eddie Hearn had written cheques that his fighter couldn’t cash in the ring, suggesting Joshua had been hyped to the point that his fall seemed even more seismic than it truly was.

“He’s supposed to be this big guy, you know — bigger than life — but I blame his promoter for all that. I’mma blame his promoter for bigging him up like that and always wanna be on the videos, always wanna do the interviews.

It’s one thing about this sport, man. Having people on the outside, you can’t talk for people! ‘Oh yeah, I talked to Josh yesterday, he said this’ — it’s ok, you gotta be modest and mild with it a little bit. Because you can’t say so much because you’re not gonna be the one in the ring fighting at the end of the night.

“So not only was Joshua [having] to back up stuff that he says, but now he has to back up the stuff [said by] the promoter that so love to have the attention and get in front of every camera; that will give him attention and talk all this mess; and then when you get in with an opponent like Andy, and you get knocked down four times and then you give up — that’s humiliation and that’s embarrassment at the top of the class.”

Wilder added that a rematch between him and Tyson Fury will “definitely” happen, and said of a prospective Joshua clash down the line:

Just because he lost and the megafight ain’t happening right now doesn’t mean it can’t happen in the future. It does mess up the money a little bit, but hey man — not mine!

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