Deontay Wilder put on a superb performance on Saturday night to fully redeem himself following an indifferent defeat to Tyson Fury in 2020.
After Wilder’s incredible trilogy battle with Fury, the consensus is that the heavyweight barnstormer is a shoo-in to win Fight of the Year.
Fury is taking most of the plaudits, and rightly so. He’s now the self-professed greatest of his era.
As that statement rings true with most boxing fans, Wilder must be considered second behind “The Gypsy King.”
Over three fights, Wilder knocked Fury down four times. He was a whisker away from being declared the winner in the first and third contests.
The second showing will always be a sore point with anyone trying to big-up the legacy of “The Bronze Bomber,” – but there’s no doubting the American’s credentials from 2015 to 2021.
A five-year WBC heavyweight title reign culminated in one of the top division’s best three-fight sagas of the modern era. Those two facts alone will secure Wilder’s place in the history books.
The amazing Oleksandr Usyk will indeed surpass Wilder in the end. However, Wilder will undoubtedly be number three in the glamor division rankings on achievement over half a dozen years.
Anthony Joshua will sit in fourth. That’s unless he does eventually face Fury or Wilder and proves himself against a top-quality, live, and in his prime opponent.
AJ still has to maneuver a way to beat Usyk in their scheduled rematch next spring. If he loses again, his worldwide legacy is in tatters.
For now, all talk is about Fury and Wilder. It’s fully deserved and leaves the door slightly ajar for a fourth encounter between the pair if they so wish to revisit at any point.
Wilder will move on and potentially into a Pay Per View battle with Andy Ruiz in 2022. Fury, for his glory, has to fight Dillian Whyte in the second half of next year.
If Fury doesn’t comply with the WBC’s mandatory wishes, Whyte will get put forward for the vacant strap.
Furthermore, Wilder may well be the first name on the list to face the interim title-holder if Fury eventually gets stripped.
But the heavyweight division is now more alive than it has been for some years as Deontay Wilder takes his place among the greats of the 2010s alongside Fury.
The views expressed in this article are opinions of Phil Jay.