The heavyweight division is better when former world champion Deontay Wilder is around, and Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn(FOX PPV) was a reminder of why Wilder is one of the most exciting fighters in boxing.
For the first time since 2019, Wilder fought someone other than Tyson Fury. The last time we saw Wilder, he was stopped by Fury in their third fight over a year ago.
Saturday night was a different story.
Wilder(43-2-1, 42 KOs) destroyed Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius(31-3, 20 KOs) in one round in their WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator. According to CompuBox, Wilder landed only three punches, and one of those three punches was a short right hand that landed flush on Helenius’ face and ended the night as referee Mike Griffin halted the action with three seconds left in the round.
“I set him up,” Wilder said after the win. “I allowed him to reach, and when he reached, I attacked. It was a great fight. It’s been a good camp for me. We worked to make this fun for me. We work at this so much that it can just become a job. We made it fun again. We put in over 700 rounds, and it paid off tonight big time.”
Wilder now moves to 5-0 with five knockouts at Barclays Center, and according to the former champion, he loves being in Brooklyn.
“It’s just amazing to be back in Brooklyn,” said Wilder. “It’s like a second home to me. It feels so good to be back. When I got off the plane, I felt the great energy and the love, and that’s all I needed.”
Wilder says he has three years left in the sport, and following the win, he said he’ll fight whoever, including unified heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk and Andy Ruiz Jr.
“I’ve been hearing rumors about (unified heavyweight champion) Oleksandr Usyk, but he’s not here, is he?” he said. “When guys see these knockouts, they turn the corner away from me. I’m ready for whatever. Whether it’s Andy Ruiz Jr. or Usyk, I’m ready. Deontay is back, and the excitement in the heavyweight division is back.”
The rumors have been swirling that Wilder would fight Ruiz next, which will probably be the case and would be fun. Actually, any fight Wilder is in will be fun.