What is Next For Deontay Wilder?
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
Having gone 0-2-1 with Tyson Fury in their last three meetings, the time has come for “The Bronze Bomber”, Deontay Wilder, to move on to the next stage in his career. His next bout will not be Tyson Fury, and he will have to wait until the Anthony Joshua versus Oleksandr Usyk WBA-WBO-IBF and IBO world heavyweight title rematch to take place in UK in 2022 before he can pursue either winner or loser of that heavyweight title bout. Would Wilder fight Joy Joyce, Frank Sanchez, Andy Ruiz Jr., Daniel Dubois, Mike Hunter, Filip Hrgovic, Dillian Whyte, Hughie Fury, Joseph Parker, or Dereck Chisora next? The logical next fight for Deontay is against his sparring partner Robert Helenius. “The Nordic Nightmare” has defeated Adam Kownacki twice on Wilder’s undercard, and at age 37, Helenius is ready for the biggest fight of his career. Both combatants, by virtue of sparring, know each other real well. Wilder versus Helenius is the best next fight fot both fighters available on the table in early 2022. It’s kill or be killed for these two gargantuan heavyweight sluggers.
Helenius, 31-3 with 19 knockouts, Mariehamn, Finland by way of Sweden, has rejuvenated his career with the two Kownacki wins, rising to the fifteenth position worldwide in the BoxRec rankings. Wilder, 42-2-1 with 41 knockouts, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is probably going to get at least 90 days of suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after getting knocked down and out by Tyson Fury at 1:10 of the eleventh round of their trilogy bout on Saturday night, October 9, 2021, in the main event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the World Boxing Council World Heavyweight title. Wilder had Fury down twice in the third bout, as in first bout and again could not put Fury away, getting finished by Fury like in the second bout.
Helenius stands 6’6 ½” to Wilder’s 6’7″, and their recent weights, Helenius at 246 pounds, to Wilder’s 238 pounds, are an even match on paper at 12 rounds. The World Boxing Council International Silver heavyweight belt is available, the last bout for that belt ending in a No Contest due to a positive post-fight drug test in Europe this past summer. This particular belt would be the WBC belt of choice. As an alternative to Helenius, former top contender Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev, 28-2 with 14 knockouts, Sofia, Bulgaria, would also be a serious opponent for Wilder for the WBC International Silver belt. At 6’4 ½” and 239 ¾ pounds, Pulev, age 40, coming off a titular loss to Anthony Joshua in December 2020, would be a somewhat easier fight for Wilder for a knockout, though Pulev has a chance at outpointing Wilder-if Wilder has not recovered completely from his second loss to Tyson Fury. Only time can answer that. Only Wilder knows where he is tomorrow in the bigger picture of the heavyweight division. His heart will be tested in his 2022 nontitle comeback.