Heavyweight contender Junior Fa admits he was surprised at Deontay Wilder’s comprehensive defeat at the fists of Tyson Fury in February, but doesn’t believe injury was a factor.

Fa, who is closing in on a fight with fellow New Zealander Joseph Parker, was drafted in as a sparring partner by Wilder for his rematch with Fury and says the former WBC champion had looked razor sharp in training camp.

The Kiwi confirmed that Wilder suffered a bicep injury shortly before the fight, since rectified by surgery, but doesn’t feel it played a part in the American’s performance. Wilder was subsequently brushed aside in seven rounds as Fury fought on the front foot and dropped the long-term WBC title-holder twice in a devastating performance.

“I was very shocked,” Fa, a regular sparring partner for Wilder, told Sky Sports. “The lead up and the training was actually really good. Deontay was looking great.

“When I went over and trained with Wilder, that was the biggest thing that I took away was his intensity in training and he’s there to do a job, and then he gets it done. As soon as training is done then he just turns human again.

“I think he did hurt himself towards the end of camp, which I don’t think would have played too much into the fight, but then I don’t really know the extent of the damage of the injury that he sustained.

“What I do know [is] that he did get injured, but I was very surprised by Fury’s gameplan. As soon as the fight started, and I saw Fury not really taking a backward step, trying to push Wilder to the ropes, I was thinking ‘Oh man, this is going to be a hard night for Wilder’.

“Fury just basically did what he said he was going to do, which was stop the biggest puncher in the world. That was a very, very good performance from him.”

Main image: Fa (left) also helped Wilder prepare for his fight with Dominic Breazeale.