Deontay Wilder – Five Possible Opponents in 2022

Deontay Wilder retirement heavyweight

Ryan Hafey

Despite cutting a dejected figure after losing against Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder’s spirited display helped his stock rise. After being  outclassed in Tyson vs. Wilder II, knocking down the Gypsy King twice in their third meeting helped restore faith in “The Bronze Bomber.” 

Shortly after the defeat, rumors of the 36-year-old’s retirement circulated. Speaking on his wife’s podcast last year (Telli Swift), Wilder said, “I’m feeling great, I’m doing great. We didn’t get what we wanted (against Fury), but we still got something out of it. I think we got something even bigger out of it besides just a victory.” 

His positive comments led many to believe that he won’t hang up his gloves just yet. However, while appearing on the Bryon Scott podcast (Off The Dribble) on February 11, Wilder mentioned that he might use psychedelic drugs to help him decide on whether to retire or not. 

“I think I’m going to take a trip that I have to take. I’m thinking about doing Ayahuasca,’ he told Byron Scott. 

“That’s going to be my decision-making process. Ayahuasca is something you take to take a spiritual journey. You’re using DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) and things like that.”

After these remarks, it seems his decision to retire is still up in the air. But another big payday could tempt Wilder to get back in the ring before this year is out. Yet who is most likely to go toe to toe with the former WBC heavyweight champion? We look at possible dance partners that would generate enough interest for a PPV event. 

Andy Ruiz

A clash with Mexican-American heavyweight Andy Ruiz seems like the most likely option. Ruiz has mentioned multiple times that he would like to take on Wilder, and as Al Haymon represents both boxers, a deal could be done and dusted quite quickly. 

After losing his rematch against Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz faced fellow Mexcian-American Chris Arreola and beat him unanimously. Yet, it wasn’t the most convincing display because Arreola managed to send him crashing to the canvas. Therefore, a victory against the Bronze Bomber would be just the ticket to get Ruiz’s career back on track. 

But as Deontay Wilder has famously struggled against skilled boxers, he might avoid Ruiz. Nevertheless, a match against two former champions based in the states would secure a huge payday for both fighters.  

Anthony Joshua

Seeing Wilder in the ring with Joshua may seem unlikely right now. But if Joshua loses his expected rematch against Oleksander Usyk (not unlikely), he will need a win against a big name to resurrect his legacy. Before facing Fury, Wilder called out Joshua multiple times and thought he had the skills to beat the Brit. 

So if Joshua fails to win back his belts, promoter Eddie Hearn would probably advise Joshua to go after Wilder to restore prestige to his most-prized asset. 

Michael Hunter

An all-American showdown with Michael Hunter would be a compelling fight for Deontay Wilder. Since moving up from weight classes, Hunter is undefeated and has a 20-1-1 record – his only loss came against current WBA, WBO, IBF, and IBO heavyweight champion Oleksander Usyk cruiserweight.

Hunter has won eight and drawn one of his nine heavyweight fights. The only blemish on his record in the division came against Alexander Povetkin in Saudi Arabia on the Ruiz-Joshua 2 undercard – yet many pundits thought the American had done enough to get the victory.  

“The Bounty” considers himself the boogeyman of the division and would relish an opportunity to replace Wilder as the top American heavyweight. 

Deontay Wilder Dillian Whyte
Esther Lin / Mark Robinson

Dillian Whyte 

Dillian Whyte has already engaged in a war of words with the Bronze Bomber, calling him “deluded and confused” and labeling him a “fraud clown” to try and get a shot at Wilder. These two powerhouses don’t see eye to eye. As a result, the trash talk leading up to the fight would bring the hype. Also, as they both have 60 KOs between them (Whyte – 19, Wilder – 41), this clash would be an enthralling matchup.  

But if Whyte beats Fury in April, he might be less willing to wade into a fight of this caliber when belts are on the line. Still, considering online sportsbook Bovada has Whyte as a +425 underdog to beat the Gypsy King, Wilder could finally touch gloves with the Londoner in 2022. 

Joe Joyce

Although he’s not the most skilled and pretty damned slow, Joe Joyce’s engine and granite chin would pose problems for any of the active heavyweights. At 13-0, the Brit is the mandatory challenger for Usyk’s WBO crown – so he could face the Ukrainian in September. Nevertheless, a one-off fight against Deontay Wilder beforehand would raise Joyce’s profile and bring in some funds. 

Yet, as stepping into the ring with the Bronze Bomber is a risky option, he may opt to play it safe and go for a tune-up fight instead of jeopardizing his legacy.