Deontay Wilder was frustrated when he learned early in July that Tyson Fury pulled out of their third fight due to COVID-19.
Once the former WBC heavyweight champion overcame the initial disappointment of yet another delay, Wilder viewed the additional time to prepare as a bonus. The 2½-month postponement of their third bout gave Wilder a chance to hone his game plan while working with a new head trainer, Malik Scott.
The Tuscaloosa, Alabama, expressed during a recent Zoom conference call that he therefore feels better prepared for their ESPN/FOX Sports Pay-Per-View main event Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“The delay was a blessing, a blessing for me,” Wilder said. “You know, the more they delayed it, the more time we had to work on our craft and art, and to go over even more, strategically, go over the game plan that we’re gonna have come October the 9th. So, you know, it was a time of frustration because as a fighter, you know, I mean, as a fighter, you’re ready to go. You know, you’re ready to get back out there. And this is the longest I’ve been out of the ring, especially when I’m anxious to get in the ring.”
Wilder endured the longest layoff of his 13-year pro career since his loss to Fury in their rematch, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) also has had to wait more than 19 months to fulfill his contractual obligation to a third fight with Wilder.
The 35-year-old Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) admits he cannot wait for his opportunity to redeem himself versus Fury, who dropped Wilder twice on his way to a seventh-round stoppage in February 2020 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“It’s just something about boxing that calls you,” Wilder said. “That ring just calls you there. You know, even when you sometimes you may wanna give up, sometimes you may just wanna quit or just say I don’t wanna do it no more. It’s just something about boxing, it just draws you back. Look at all the retired guys that coming back, and they just wanna be a part of boxing. Boxing allow you to just stay part of it, man. But that time that we had, you know, it have benefitted me tremendously, and I’m looking forward to October the 9th.”
Fury is a 3-1 favorite to defeat Wilder again, according to the Caesars Sportsbook. Their third meeting will headline a four-fight pay-per-view show, which is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. EDT ($79.99).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.