Deontay Wilder’s reign as WBC world heavyweight champion came to an abrupt end on Saturday night, so what is next for ‘The Bronze Bomber’ following the first defeat of his professional career?
Wilder was somewhat fortunate to leave Los Angeles with his belt and unbeaten record intact when he defended against Fury back in December 2018. He was dominated and outclassed for almost 12 rounds of that contest and although he did manage to drop the challenger twice late on, many felt Fury had still done more than enough to become a two-time champion.
The judges controversially ruled the fight a draw though and an immediate rematch was called for by the WBC who clearly agreed with the notion that Fury should have become world champion on that night. The British heavyweight snubbed the opportunity however, taking a couple of ‘easier’ fights in 2019 in order to warm himself up for a second crack at Wilder, but when he finally signed on the dotted line he left no doubts about who the better fighter is.
Fury dominated Wilder from the off and although ‘The Bronze Bomber’ did land a few decent punches early on, he ran out of ideas quickly and had the WBC belt ripped away from him in emphatic fashion. The American hit the canvas multiple times through the first six round, albeit with only two counted as knockdowns, but when Fury began to unload heavy shots Wilder’s corner decided enough was enough and saved their man from ‘pillow fists’.
Fury had been in a league of his own on the night and that leads to the big question – will Wilder activate his rematch clause? ‘The Bronze Bomber’ has 30 days to activate the option that was included in the contract for Saturday night’s rematch, but you have to wonder if he really wants to get back in the ring with the newly-crowned champion given how easily he was bullied, beaten down and stopped in Las Vegas.
The bookmakers are giving him little hope of gaining revenge if the two men met in a rematch, with Paddy Power pricing up Fury as a 4/11 underdog while going 15/8 about a Wilder win, so if that fight does not happen next, what will the former champion opt to do?
A long-awaited showdown with Anthony Joshua is certainly not off the cards and if an agreement can be reached between the two parties the bookmakers believe Wilder could bounce back with a win, become a two-time heavyweight champion and actually hold more belts than he did during his first run atop the division.
Wilder is odds-on at 4/5 to beat Joshua if the two men finally meet, with the current WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO champion far from written off at Even money to become the second British heavyweight to get the better of ‘The Bronze Bomber’.
Or what about a showdown with heavyweight newcomer Oleksandr Usyk. Usyk moved up to the weight class last year after dominating the cruiserweight ranks, unifying all of the titles, and he has repeatedly seen his name get linked with the very best in the division. The bookies believe he should want to part of Wilder however.
Paddy Power make the former WBC champion a 2/5 favourite for a potential showdown, with former cruiserweight kingpin Usyk considered a 7/4 underdog.