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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Latest Boxing News & Rumors Today / Limited big men Deontay Wilder and Zhilei Zhang do battle this weekend

Limited big men Deontay Wilder and Zhilei Zhang do battle this weekend

Publish Date: 05/29/2024
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

Deontay Wilder has made the best of what he has.

And what is that?


Big time.

The 6-foot-7-inch Wilder fights Zhilei Zhang this Saturday at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Wilder captured the vaunted WBC heavyweight title in 2015. He defended it ten times against varying degrees of fistic ability. His most impressive victories were over Cuban heavyweight Luis Ortiz.

Ortiz might have been close to forty (or over it), but he could still box and proved it against Wilder in 2019. The fight was tight. Ortiz came close to stopping Wilder in round seven. The big gazelle was dazed and wobbly. One more solid punch would have likely floored Wilder. But it didn’t happen. Wilder worked his way through the haze and

cleared his head. He knocked out Ortiz in round 10.

The rematch was all Ortiz until Wilder knocked him out with one punch in round seven.

There it is. Wilder packs one-punch power. He counts on it. His jab is long, but he’s a clean-up man swinging for the fences. He lands often. Wilder has won 43 fights, 42 by knockout. He’s lost three fights – twice being stopped by then-champion Tyson Fury. No disgrace there. The only thing disgraceful was his excuses.

Wilder laid off for a year – returning to knock out Robert Helenius in a single round two years ago. His most recent ring activity was against Joseph Parker last December. Wilder fought a strange fight, moving around the ring and rarely throwing punches.

Maybe, he thought, like before in other fights, all he’d need to do is land one to win. The problem was his big right was missing in action.

Parker won by a wide decision that left many boxing onlookers scratching their heads.

Wilder has spoken of needing to regain his passion for boxing. There was no passion on display against the resurgent Parker.

Will he fight with passion against Zhang?

He better.

Southpaw Zhang is also coming off a loss to the same Joseph Parker in March of this year. Parker survived two knockdowns to edge Zhang over 12 rounds. After flooring Parker, Zhang smiled as if the fight was over. There was a lack of urgency on his part. He nonchalantly pursued Parker. Zhang is slow, so perhaps he was moving fast. For him. Parker held on and jabbed his way to a split-decision victory.

Last year, underdog Zhang placed himself on the cusp of a title fight by beating up Joe Joyce twice. Joyce’s chin appeared to be indescribable – until he met Zhang.

We have two huge men with knockout power. Zhang throws straighter punches than Wilder, but he’s there to be hit.

Former cruiserweight champion Tony Bellow is expecting a knockout.

“One of them is getting knocked out,” said Bellow on “Do you know what? I want to say Zhang knocks Wilder out because of the way Wilder boxed against Parker. I do fancy Zhilei Zhang because I know he’s gonna let his hands go. I don’t know where Deontay’s head’s at.”

Wilder said all the right things last week.

“It’s been a real fun camp, real exciting, my focus has been on point, my mindset has been on point, my aggression has been off the chart, and I’m ready to go,” Wilder said on his Instagram page.”

I see a stoppage as well, in favor of Zhang. Look for the straight left hand. Wilder won’t have to look to find Zhang – so his right could land.

If that happens…

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