Heavyweight title hopeful Zhilei Zhang has criticised Deontay Wilder’s performance against Joseph Parker, where the American lost to just the second opponent of his forty-seven-fight long career.
Wilder went into his clash with Parker as a hot favourite, despite competing in just one round of boxing since October 2021. That inactivity proved costly, as ‘The Bronze Bomber’ was dominated by the former WBO champion.
Parker was fighting his fourth contest of the year, and it showed on the scorecards, where one judge scored it as a 120-108 whitewash for the New Zealander.
In an interview with Fight Hype, ‘Big Bang’ Zhang admitted his confusion at Wilder’s reluctance to plant his feet during the battle, when he was clearly reliant on landing a signature one-punch-knockout.
“My prediction before the fight, to be honest with you, was a distance win for Joseph Parker. As we can see, Parker’s activity in the ring, where has stayed busy over the last couple of months and couple of years was definitely going to help him.
“He had no ring rust, he knew what he was doing. When you look at Wilder, he hasn’t fought for fourteen months, and throughout the whole fight he was just looking for the big right-hand and he barely found the opportunity to throw that.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense that he was moving around like that, if you want to land a solid shot, why are you moving around the ring like that?
“If you count all of the punches, Wilder probably threw less than a hundred punches throughout the whole fight, he was being reactive the whole time instead of being proactive.”
Zhang went on to discuss the hurdles that Wilder may now face in order to get back to the top of the heavyweight division.
“As a boxer, I can tell you that it is easy to fall and it is harder to rise up. Deontay Wilder has been there, he has been at the top, now I would say that he is in the lower part of his career.
“It is really hard to get back, you have to overcome a lot of physical and mental problems to be able to come back again after that.
“Now, everyone is studying Deontay Wilder, they are looking at his right-hand, they’re looking at his footwork and they’re looking at everything that he does in their studying and analysis of him.”
Whilst a return to the top seems unlikely for Wilder, Zhang is well poised due to his position as the WBO mandatory challenger, which should see him face the winner of Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk, and he has even called out one rival for a fight on the undercard.