Exclusive: Antonio Tarver reviews Wilder v Washington, eyes Luis Ortiz clash at Wembley
Five-time world champion Antonio Tarver was all set to fight on February 25 after revealing to WBN he was due to face Gerald Washington before the latter was called to battle Deontay Wilder on top billing.
Tarver, without a fight since an August 2015 draw with Steve Cunningham, was deep in camp for a scheduled bout with Washington until Wilder’s original opponent Andrzej Warwrzyk failed a drug test.
Washington was subsequently bumped up to the main event, only to be blasted out in the fifth round at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama as Tarver watched on from a ringside seat.
“Wilder’s performance was as expected considering Washington had no championship experience,” Tarver exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I figured he’d come out fast and get derailed as soon as the fight settled in. A combination of lack of experience and composure, neither one you can’t teach.”
Asked his opinion on Wilder immediately being ordered to rematch Bermane Stiverne, the man he first took the title from in January 2015, Tarver wasn’t too impressed by what he sees as another substandard opponent for the WBC champion.
“Personally, I think it’s just another fight that prolongs the inevitable. Wilder is gonna eventually have to fight someone with championship pedigree. It looks to me they hurried up and took him off the market to fight anyone else because I don’t know anyone that do business on Sunday,” he joked.
“Wilder will face the other champions, but only if they feel he’s not gonna be able to last much longer hand picking these safe fights. I’ve gone on record and challenged Wilder myself, but every prominent fighter I call out seems to all fall on deaf ears and everyone has the same excuse that I’m too much of a risk.
“If that’s the case then vacate the damn belt if you’re afraid to take a risk – and that goes for all these ‘title holders’ cause I don’t see one champion amongst all of them!
“If he fights the winner of Anthony Joshua v Wladiimir Klitschko right away it will only be to ‘cash out’ – there’s no other reason!”
On his own future, Tarver has his eyes on an undercard spot at Wembley Stadium against ‘King Kong’ Luis Ortiz, having informed WBN he’s already reached out to Eddie Hearn to confirm his availability.
“Considering I trained three months expecting to fight Gerald Washington after a 17-month layoff on that Wilder undercard, right up until his opponent was scratched and they put Washington in, you can see I’m still waiting.
“I’m ready to fight. I’ve challenged some top fighters out there, even champions, and as always all I hear are crickets. I guess they’re waiting on Father Time to come knocking on my door, but I’m gonna stay true to the game because they running out of names unless they plan on continuing to recycle all these safe opponents.
“I can be ready as soon as we get an official date and the right opponent. As you know, I don’t have much time so I don’t need a tune up and I don’t need to prove anything. If I couldn’t fight they wouldn’t be ducking,” he pointed out.
“If I could choose my next fight though it would be the ‘baddest’ heavyweight on the planet, Luis Ortiz. I’d be happy to fight him on the undercard of Joshua v Klitschko. I heard he’s looking for an opponent, so let’s see who’s the most feared man in the heavyweight division is and what he’s really got.
“I’d just like to finish off by saying to all my fans that I thank you for your undying support and I’ll be back in the ring soon,” added Tarver.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay