Deontay Wilder is targeting the winner of the eagerly-anticipated rematch between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk as he plots an imminent return to the ring.
The Bronze Bomber has been out of action since suffering a pair of brutal stoppage defeats to WBC champion Tyson Fury – most recently in October last year – with the American now seemingly set to embark on a new title hunt.
The top-end of the heavyweight division is currently in limbo, awaiting the result of the blockbuster rematch between Joshua and Usyk on August 20 in Saudi Arabia.
Wilder will likely significantly drop his level of opposition upon his return, with boxing promoter Frank Warren recently telling talkSPORT that he’s heard an October match-up against Robert Helenius is in the works.
The 36-year-old knockout artist would put himself right back in the heavyweight mix with victory, however, and his manager Shelly Finkel has outlined their intention to fight the division’s elites once more.
Atop the list is a huge showdown against either Joshua or Usyk, though Finkel acknowledges Fury will get the first shot at the winner should he opt to fight again.
‘Maybe the winner of Usyk and Joshua,’ Finkel told Planet Sport when asked who Wilder could fight. ‘I don’t know what Fury is doing?
‘Maybe if Joshua wins it’s a huge fight in the UK (between AJ and Wilder). There’s so many intangibles so we’re looking to see what happens in that fight (Usyk vs Joshua).
‘I don’t care what Fury says, we’re waiting to see what he really wants to do because if he wants to fight the winner then he’s going to get it.
‘But after that, where are the top guys? There’s only four real top guys in the heavyweights right now – Usyk, Joshua, Fury and Deontay.’
Another potential option for Wilder is an all-American showdown against fellow former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr, who is set to return to the ring on September 4 against Luis Ortiz.
Ruiz Jr told FightHype earlier in July of his desire to fight Wilder as he plots his own path back to a world title shot.
The Mexican-American has fought just twice since defeating Joshua to become unified champion in 2019, being in his rematch loss six months later and an unconvincing points win over Chris Arreola in May last year.
Wilder in May confirmed his plans to continue fighting, stating: ‘I can’t stop right now. I must continue with my journey. love you guys so much. I can’t end it like this. This journey’s not over with. I must continue my journey.’
However, more recently in June, Wilder said he was still considering the option, insisting financially he does not need to return.
‘I’m definitely considering coming back,’ Wilder told Premier Boxing Champions. ‘This is something that we’re trying to figure out and get things situated. I hear this all the time from a lot of top people inside and outside of boxing.
‘I never have to return to boxing again in my life, I have set my life up and as I was running my career I dictated how I want things to go. And as I went along I made a series of smart investments and I don’t ever have to return again.’
A long-awaited grudge match between Wilder and Joshua would be a mammoth event regardless of their impending results, having exchanged verbal insults on numerous occasions while champions, though negotiations to stage a bout failed to come to fruition on multiple occasions.
One match-up that won’t be taking place is a bout between Wilder and Derek Chisora, however, despite Del Boy calling out the American following his split-decision win over Kubrat Pulev.
‘Derek Chisora? He just edged a split-decision over Kubrat Pulev, no way,’ Finkel said.