Deontay Wilder has been warned to stay away from one of his heavyweight rivals if he doesn’t want to risk ‘serious injury.’
The knockout artist from Alabama has amassed a record of 42 stoppages from 43 wins, only coming up short to current world champion, Tyson Fury.
Wilder returned to the ring last October following his two losses to Fury to remind his fellow contenders of just how dangerous he is, dispatching of Robert Helenius in the first round with just the third connected punch.
Despite that power being a fear factor for any heavyweight standing in the opposite corner, it’s Wilder who has been advised to avoid someone.
Chinese southpaw, Zhilei Zhang, is coming off a career-best victory over Joe Joyce in London. ‘Big Bang’ punished Joyce through six with an accurate left hand that saw the local fighter’s eye swell to the point he couldn’t continue.
Zhang’s co-manager, Terry Lane, told Sky Sports that his fighter was the danger man.
“Is there a heavyweight who’s got a better resume in the last 12 months [than Zhang]? He beat Hrgovic but didn’t get his hand raised. He just walked through Joe Joyce, which we knew would happen.
He’s been turned down by Anthony Joshua, [Derek] Chisora and [Dillian] Whyte. They won’t touch him, so they’re out of the equation.”
Lane seems the most confident about how a fight with Wilder would turn out, claiming Zhang would retire him before saying all that’s left are the champions of the division.
“He would physically injure and end the career of Deontay Wilder. No-one can make a fight with him, so what does that leave? [Oleksandr] Usyk and Tyson Fury.”
Wilder is in increasingly positive talks to face Anthony Joshua towards the end of the year. The Saudi Arabia staged showdown is a mega-money match-up between two former champions, and he’s expected to take a lesser fight in the interim.
That almost certainly won’t be Zhang, who is tied into a rematch with Joe Joyce. Whether or not they face off down the line remains to be seen, but with Wilder’s team only pursuing ‘big fights’. the Chinese heavyweight would likely have to win a world title to tempt the American into the ring.