Jai Opetaia, the IBF cruiserweight champion, says Deontay Wilder needs to throw his bombs to win against Zhilei Zhang this Saturday night in Riyadh.

Opetaia feels that the former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) must return to how he used to fight when unleashing his powerful right hand to score knockouts.

Wilder’s Deviation from His Knockout Power

Wilder has deviated from that style since his second defeat against Tyson Fury in 2021, and his emphasis on boxing hasn’t worked. Some fans feel that Wilder should have dumped his trainer, Malik Scott, after his recent loss to Joseph Parker last December, but he’s sticking with him until the bitter end, which could come on Saturday.

Wilder, 38, has repeatedly said he could retire if he loses to Zhang (26-2-1, 21 KOs), and many fans feel he’s not going to last long against the powerful ‘Big Bang’ in this fight.

The difference between the aging heavyweights is that Zhang isn’t afraid to throw his power punches. What Zhang, 40, has going against him is his stamina. He gasses out early in his fights, often by the sixth round. That led to Zhang’s decision losses to Joseph Parker last March and Filip Hrgovic in 2022.

Opetaia’s Advice for Wilder

“Yeah, I’m not sure. He needs to get back to that bomb squad stuff,” said IBF cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia to Secondsout about Deontay Wilder needing to let his hands go in his fight this Saturday night against Zhilei Zhang.

It could be risky for Wilder to throw his right-hand power shots against Zhang because the two-time Olympian is an excellent counterpuncher and a southpaw. Wilder hasn’t been fighting a lot of southpaws during his 16-year professional.

“He just holds dangerous power, and he’s just got to use it. He’s got to throw those bombs,” Opetaia continued about Deontay. “His boxing ability is not the best, to be honest, but he holds that massive, upsetting power. That’ll be a good fight, too.”

Wilder has no choice but to go for broke against Zhang because he can’t box well enough to win a decision, and it would be dangerous for him to play it cautiously, as he did in his defeat against Parker last December.

Even when fighting scared, Parker hit Wilder a lot, but the New Zealander lacked the power to stop him. Zhang has the kind of one-punch power to KO Wilder with a single shot, and that’s one of the reasons the oddsmakers have him as the favorite.

“Even Zhang, he’s not a bad fighter, and it’s awesome to see [Joseph] Parker beat them both. I’m a massive fan of Parker,” said Opetaia.

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