DEONTAY Wilder has promised a return to his old ways this Saturday evening. Fans were left confused and, at times, frustrated that the one-time destroyer could not pull the trigger in the same venue last December against a steadfast Joseph Parker.

There will be no repeat of the gun-shy, imitation weapon that turned up to the Kingdom Arena, insists Wilder, who says he has rediscovered his violent streak just in time to dish out the punishment on Zhilei Zhang.

“Like I promised the Kingdom the first time, I wasn’t able to pull the trigger but here I am again, a second chance to be able to pull the trigger, so I’m looking forward to doing that. Finally giving the Kingdom one of those exciting and dramatic knockout(s),” he purred to an assembled media.

Describing himself as the hardest puncher in history, Deontay certainly made his name by erasing opponents in a manner not seen for many years in the heavyweight division.

Victims weren’t just knocked out; they were sent into another dimension by a fighter with clear technical flaws, able to turn everything around in the flick of a wrist.

“The things I do to a human being, in that body, is none other than anyone has ever done before. But I can say, I did lose the passion. I lost the love of this business because of multiples of things that have occurred,” he lamented.

“But at this moment in time, my fire has been relit. Especially coming to the Kingdom, being able to be accepted for who I am, and having that passion and being able to speak like I want.

“Speaking with my heart, allowing my mouth to be translated to what my heart is saying as a warrior. I only tell people how I feel as a warrior.”

Delivering monologues with the reflective flair of a seasoned evangelist, Wilder claims that those criticising his endeavours stick around to watch the entertainment unfold and, therefore, are complicit in his activities.

“When you go to war, you ain’t trying to have no survivors, you’re trying to eliminate every piece of them if they’re the opposite of you, you understand me?”

It’s hard not to understand such emotive language. The catch here is that opponent Zhilei Zhang can hit pretty hard himself. While Joe Parker took advantage of Wilder’s ruminating mood by picking punches and picking up rounds, Zhang will likely let his hands go early and often.

“I like Zhang, you know, I like his fighting style. I like his big head, it’s going to be a big target to hit. At least an easy target to hit,” grinned 38-year-old Wilder.

Is the former WBC champion feeling the pressure of a possible career-ending evening?

“It’s going to be exciting come Saturday night to see what happens. Like he said, you got Chinese power against Alabama power. At the end of the day, we know the power ain’t going out, but somebody’s lights will.”

Such is Wilder’s propensity to not only spin heads but also yarns, he has even managed to twist his relationship with Eddie Hearn into a positive.

“I’m [the] type of person that I love change and that’s what we need in the world. A lot of people in the world can learn from this.

“I feel we all need each other and the only reason that we’re at war with each other, different cultures, different regions, different religions, different things, [is] because we don’t understand each other.

“I do feel that Eddie is a promoter and what promoter wouldn’t want to promote Deontay Wilder? One of the most savage, one of the knockout artists of the generation – of all time?”

Getting through Zhang is the only thing on Wilder’s mind right now (the only boxing thing, anyway), but if he can rekindle the old energy and look impressive, the Parker fight will become a quickly forgotten bump in the road.

Who knows where that road eventually leads? With Tyson Fury, the man who has already exerted his dominance over Wilder, expected to entertain a rematch with Oleksandr Usyk next, Deontay could be left on the title fringes.

Opportunities will always present themselves for someone so exciting. The Fury-Usyk clash of two weeks ago delivered the kind of high-octane, frantic enjoyment the American finisher has regularly provided since his 2008 debut.

“I thought it [Fury vs. Usyk] was a great fight,” he agreed. “I was on the fence, I didn’t know who was going to win. I always think it’s what dog bring what bite to the fight and Oleksandr’s bite was bigger than his and I think he got robbed in the ninth round of a knockout for sure.

“Gifts, gifts, gifts, was given, you know, but at the end of the day, he [Usyk] won and congratulations. Big congratulations to him and I wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

Either Wilder or Zhang can add to the giving of gifts this Saturday evening when the world waits for someone to wrap up and deliver a memorable KO.


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