Deontay Wilder has a rough time in his WBC world heavyweight championship fight with Tyson Fury last month. The Bronze Bomber was battered, bloodied and stopped by his Brit rival – but Wilder has made it clear he wants more by invoking his rematch clause.
Fury’s promoter Bob Arum has confirmed that the rematch will take place, with July 18 being the last date the fight can take place by.
If Wilder isn’t ready by then, the fight will likely be passed up and Fury can move on with other commitments.
But the American seems pretty hell-bent on fighting Fury again. Would that be the wisest thing to do, considering the beating he took? Most are saying no.
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Not many will pick Wilder to win the third fight and the former champ will have to overcome huge physical and mental barriers to do so. So which fighters could Wilder face off in the meantime to get his confidence back?
Express Sport have come up with three potential names for Wilder to explore, rather than take the Fury fight straight away.
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1 – Otto Wallin
Over the past few years, both Wilder and Fury, as well as other heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua, have been commended for relaunching the heavyweight division into stardom once again.
All three have incredible confidence, but after Wilder’s performance against Fury, he’ll be at an all-time low. He needs to regain the brashness he lost – and what better way to do that than fight someone who Fury struggled badly against last year.
Otto Wallin gave Fury the fight of his life last September in Las Vegas, opening up a 47-stitch cut above Fury’s right eye, before troubling him late on with a flurry of punches.
Wilder’s best shot at beating Fury is to regain his lost confidence – something he can do by knocking out Wallin with ease.
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2 – Andy Ruiz Jr
While we’re on the subject of regaining confidence – how about knocking out the guy who knocked out Anthony Joshua less than a year ago, forcing AJ to come up with a completely new style, shed to his lightest weight yet and fight 36 minutes on the perimeter of the ring?
Ruiz Jr, despite his terrible performance against Joshua in December, is a live opponent for anyone in the heavyweight division.
He’s recently talked of his desire to get back fit and into his best fighting shape. With Wilder and Ruiz Jr under the same promotional banner, the fight should be easy to make.
Knocking out Ruiz Jr, who some believe could give Wilder problems with his come-forward pressure style, would give him a slight mental edge over Joshua.
3 – Robert Helenius
His name wouldn’t have registered as a potential Deontay Wilder opponent three weeks ago, but after knocking out Adam Kownacki at the weekend, despite being a 25000/1 underdog.
Helenius has had previous tough battles with the likes of Dillian Whyte, Dereck Chisora and Gerald Washington – and most considered him to be over-the-hill when he took the fight with Kownacki.
Kownacki was being built to become a future world title contender, with fights against Ruiz Jr and Wilder being talked about last year.
But Helenius halted proceedings and stopped him in four rounds at the weekend, making him the perfect opponent for Wilder to fight and get back to winning ways before a bout with Fury.
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