Three realistic opponents have emerged for the imminent return of former world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
“The Bronze Bomber” confirmed his intention to continue his career at a statue unveiling in Tuscaloosa last week.
Attention now turns to who might be in the opposite corner to the American puncher. Wilder should be back in action by August or September, with speculation already rife about which in-house Premier Boxing Champions heavyweight he might face.
One thing that looks certain is that Al Haymon will be the one who chooses the shortlist. The PBC has ten fighters over 200 pounds on their roster.
Andy Ruiz Jr, Charles Martin, Gerald Washington, Dominic Breazeale, Adam Kownacki, Chris Arreola, Robert Helenius, Luis Ortiz, Travis Kauffman, and Frank Sanchez.
Meanwhile, Washington, Breazeale, Arreola, and Ortiz [twice] already got knocked out by Wilder. None of them did enough in their meetings to get considered.
That leaves Martin, Kownacki, Ruiz, Helenius, Kauffman, and Sanchez on any shortened list.
Ruiz and Sanchez could be considered for an eliminator in the future and wouldn’t fall into a warm-up fight category. Therefore, it’s far more likely that Wilder will go up against Martin, Kownacki, Helenius, or Kauffman.
Kauffman could be retired for good, which also drops him from contention.
The primary three considerations are as follows:
POTENTIAL DEONTAY WILDER OPPONENTS:
The former IBF heavyweight champion lost to Luis Ortiz recently but made the cut simply because he’s never faced Wilder before.
Kownacki has lost his last two bouts but is only on the list because he has ties to Brooklyn. Wilder will be looking at The Barclays Center as a possible venue, bringing Kownacki’s name into the frame.
Probably the overwhelming favorite would be Finland’s Robert Helenius. Ironically, Helenius sparred with Wilder in preparation for Tyson Fury.
Helenius is the only one of the three in form and with a solid ranking. Therefore, Wilder vs. Helenius would be the favored clash from the Haymon roster.
Haymon would have to step away from his usual in-house formula other than those fighters named above. That means bringing in a fighter from another promotion.
A win puts Deontay Wilder firmly in contention and undoubtedly on the road to a colossal Pay Per View opposite Ruiz or Sanchez if Al Haymon can get a sanctioning body on board.
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.
WBN Editor Phil has over ten years of boxing news experience. Furthermore, follow WBN on Twitter @WorldBoxingNews.