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Home » Exclusive: Shelly Finkel addresses Deontay Wilder retirement talk

Exclusive: Shelly Finkel addresses Deontay Wilder retirement talk

World Boxing News asked Deontay Wilder’s co-manager, Shelly Finkel, for his thoughts on the potential recruitment of the heavyweight star following his latest defeat.

Wilder got knocked out for the third time in his career at the Kingdom Arena in Saudi Arabia as Chinese juggernaut Zhilei Zhang used his near seventy-pound advantage to take the American slugger out. Unless Wilder makes drastic changes, boxing could lose one of the most exciting performers of the last decade.

Will Deontay Wilder retire?

However, when asked if Wilder would be walking away, Finkel wasn’t giving too much away. He was more interested in gathering thoughts on how Willy Hutchinson performed.

“It’s too early to discuss whether Deontay Wilder will retire,” Finkel told World Boxing News exclusively. He added: “How did you like Willy Hutchinson?”

Hutchison began the night for Team Queensberry, scoring the first point of the 5 vs 5 Tournament by defeating Craig Richards. WBN told Finkel that the consensus about the Scot is that he looks like a bonafide world title challenger for the future.

Regarding Wilder, it’s much more complicated. “The Bronze Bomber” hasn’t looked at his best since a devastating knockout of Luis Ortiz in 2019. His Fight of the Year trilogy with Tyson Fury was the closest we came to seeing the old Wilder, but it was yet another loss to add to the four over his last five bouts.

New trainer

Trainer Malik Scott has come under some criticism. However, Wilder’s decision to stick with his friend, who he knocked out in 96 seconds when they fought, is more questioned than Scott’s ability. Scott joined the camp after the Fury rematch loss but has only been a part of one win in four contests.

Long-time coach Mark Breland seems to be sorely missed by Wilder after being fired after throwing the towel in during that first defeat to Fury. Breland was the fall guy for Fury’s domination of Wilder from the start of the clash until the end.

If Wilder does return to the sport, whether calling Jay Deas back to go over some new coaching ideas and not necessarily re-hiring Breland – maybe another cornerman – could be the order of the day. Whatever happens, the 38-year-old needs fresh eyeballs for a different perspective.

The way Wilder spoke during the build-up and how he performed on fight night, though, the former WBC heavyweight champion, gave off an aura of someone who didn’t want to be there.

Read all articles and exclusive interviews by Phil Jay. Learn more about the author, experienced boxing writer, and World Boxing News Editor since 2010. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.