Fury on knockdown: ‘It’s part of boxing’

They always say in the heavyweight division that one punch can change everything, and that’s what happened Saturday night at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury(34-0-1, 24 KOs) was dropped by MMA star Francis Ngannou in the third round, but he was able to overcome it and win by a 10-round split decision.

One judge had it 95-94 for Ngannou, overruled by two judges that scored it 96-93 and 95-94 for Fury.

The 35-year-old Fury landed solid right hands on Ngannou early. However, Ngannou was able to stand up to his power.

In the third round, it all changed. Ngannou caught Fury with a right hand on the side of the head, and Fury was dropped for the third time in his career by a fighter not named Deontay Wilder. Fury got up, and he did not appear to be hurt.

Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

“It’s part of boxing,” Fury said of the knockdown. “I got caught behind the head again. My legs weren’t hurt or nothing. I was alright. And I got back up and it was what it was. And I got back to my boxing. I don’t know how close it was. But I got the win, and that’s what it is.”

However, both fighters were cautious the rest of way, but Ngannou was landing the harder shots.

According to CompuBox, Fury outlanded Ngannou 71-59; however, Ngannou landed more power punches(37-32).

In the end, ‘The Gypsy King’ survives.

 “That definitely wasn’t in the script,” Fury said. “He’s one hell of a fighter. He’s strong, a big puncher, and a lot better as a boxer than we thought he would ever be. He’s a very awkward man, and he’s a good puncher. I respect him a lot before the fight and afterward.

“He was very awkward. He wasn’t coming forward. He was standing back and waiting for me to land my punches and then try to counter. He’s a good fighter. He’s given me one of my toughest fights in the last ten years.”

The 37-year-old Ngannou wants a rematch.

“We can run it back again, and I’m sure I will get the better,” he said. “This was my first boxing match. It was a great experience. I’m not giving any excuse. I know I came up short. But I’m going to go back and work harder with a little more experience and a little more feeling of the game. And I will come back even stronger.  

“At first, I was a little nervous. This is a new sport that I never did. Now I know I can do this sh*t. So, get ready!”

This was not a good showing by Fury, who entered for the first time in 11 months. He did not appear to be in decent shape, and he did not look like himself.

It should be interesting to see how long Fury will take to fight unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk; the fight was announced in September, but there’s no official date.

Despite losing, this was a win for MMA as Ngannou went against the best heavyweight in the world and almost pulled it off. Maybe he has a future in boxing.

In other action:

Heavyweight: In an all-British showdown, Fabio Wardley (17-0, 16 KOs) put an exclamation point on a bitter, months-long rivalry with David Adeleye (12-1, 11 KOs) by scoring a seventh-round TKO. Wardley pressed the action while Adeleye circled the ring. Adeleye found openings in the fifth round, but in round seven, Wardley was back in control with firm jabs. Then, while separating from a clinch, Wardley landed a right-left combo that floored Adeleye and ended matters with another combo shortly thereafter. Time of stoppage: 2:43.

Heavyweight Former heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker (33-3, 23 KOs) defeated Canadian knockout artist Simon Kean (23-2, 22 KOs) via third-round TKO. Parker spent the first two rounds deciphering Kean’s defense. He then began to land uppercuts in between Kean’s guard, first wobbling him and then stopping him with another. Time of stoppage: 2:04.

Heavyweight: Montreal-based wrecking ball Arslanbek Makhmudov (18-0, 17 KOs) notched a first-round TKO against Junior Anthony Wright (20-5-1, 17 KOs). Makhmudov dropped Wright with a right hand followed by consecutive left hooks. Wright survived the knockdown, but another right hand by “The Lion” nearly had Wright out on his feet, forcing referee Steve Gray to stop the fight. Time of stoppage: 1:10.

Heavyweight: 18-year-old British prodigy Moses Itauma (6-0, 4 KOs) iced Istvan Bernath (10-2, 8 KOs) via first-round TKO. Itauma sent Bernath to the canvas with a jab before ending matters with combinations around Bernath’s guard. Time of stoppage: 1:53.

Joshua will now battle Helenius on August 12

Anthony Joshua(25-3, 22 KOs) will face Robert Helenius(32-4, 21 KOs) in a 12-round main event at The O2 in London this Saturday August 12.(DAZN)

This follows the news that the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) informed Matchroom, the Association of Boxing Commissions and the British Boxing Board of Control that Joshua’s original opponent Dillian Whyte had returned adverse analytical findings as part of a random anti-doping protocol. As a result, their fight was immediately cancelled with a full investigation underway.

“This wasn’t in the script,” said Joshua. “I respect Helenius and may I say, I respect any male or female who steps into the ring. I am laser focused on the win. I can make steps forward to bigger and better things but the road map has a check point, Saturday night. May the best man win.”

Helenius, 39, who was stopped by Deontay Wilder in one round last October, returned on August 5 when he stopped Mika Mielonen in Round 3

“I am excited about fighting Anthony Joshua on August 12,” said Helenius. “I am a true Viking that is willing to face any challenge at a moment’s notice. This is not an opportunity I was going to let slip away. I plan to make the most of it!”

Matchroom Sport chairman Eddie Hearn said:

“To get the news on Saturday was really disappointing, not only for us but for Anthony Joshua and for the fans. But we got to work and we have done what we’re good at – and we have managed to keep the show on. AJ has been unbelievable throughout this whole process. He is someone who is ready to fight having trained for 12 weeks in Dallas with Derrick James. He has always been a great pro but this just shows me again the hunger he has for the sport.

“”He wants to go out there this Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at The O2 and perform. There were a lot of options. But we had to make sure it was the right fight for the right deal. I think Robert Helenius is a good fight. Yes, he lost to Deontay Wilder but that was by a shot that would have probably knocked out a horse! But he came to fight. He can really punch, he’s 6ft 8in and he won at the weekend. Ultimately there is criticism in whatever you do, but I actually think this is a tricky and dangerous fight.”

On a huge night of Heavyweight action in the Capital, IBF Mandatory World Title challenger Filip Hrgovic (15-0, 12 KOs) clashes with Australia’s undefeated contender Demsey McKean (22-0, 14 KOs) for a shot at Ukraine’s unified World Champion Oleksandr Usyk, two-time World Title challenger and fan favourite Derek Chisora (33-12, 23 KOs) returns to the scene of so many of his famous wins to take on America’s Gerald Washington (20-5-1, 13 KOs) over ten rounds and Romford sensation Johnny Fisher (9-0, 8 KOs) has the opportunity to land his first belt when he faces off with Torquay’s Harry Armstrong (5-1-1) for the vacant Southern Area Title.

Elsewhere on the card, Hyde Super-Lightweight Campbell Hatton (12-0, 5 KOs) takes on Hitchen’s Tom Ansell (10-4, 2 KOs) over eight rounds, Billericay Middleweight prospect George Liddard (3-0, 3 KOs) goes for another knockout against Bas Oosterweghel (5-1, 3 KOs), Wales Featherweight talent Brandon Scott (5-0, 1 KO) makes his Matchroom debut against Shepshed’s Louis Norman (14-13-1, 2 KOs) and Eltham Super-Flyweight Maiseyrose Courtney (3-0) faces her toughest test against Bournemouth’s Gemma Ruegg (7-7, 1 KO).

Joshua on fight with Wilder, Fury: ‘I’m not wasting my time chasing people’

Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte will get it on one more time on Saturday, August 12, at sold-out The O2 in London(DAZN PPV).

In the amateurs, Whyte (29-3-0, 19 KOs) got the best of Joshua, but as a pro, Joshua stopped Whyte in 2015. 

Joshua (25-3, 22 KOs) should probably beat Whyte, and many people believe he will; however, despite that fact, he knows this fight is good for business.

 “There are a lot of names in the division, but at the same time, look at what this fight does,” Joshua said at a press conference at London’s Hilton Syon Park Hotel. “I’m a fighter, but I also understand business, and this fight does good business.

“He {Dillian Whyte] is just another body. They’ve got a lot of hate for me. But I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about my lane and what I’m trying to do. I don’t focus on other people’s opinions.”

If Joshua defeats Whyte, rumors are swirling that he could fight the former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder next, but according to Joshua, who continues to train with Derrick James, he’s not chasing any fighter right now.

“Forget [Deontay] Wilder and all them lot,” Joshua said. “They’ve been doing my head in for years, even with [Tyson] Fury. You can see all the lies that have been going on. I’m 34 this year, and I’m not wasting my time chasing people. I have to have an underlining respect for every man who steps in the ring with me. I could fight now. I’ve got a brilliant trainer – a serious trainer. And we’ll see where it goes. 

Whyte, 35, says this is a must-win fight for him.

“Is this a must-win fight?” Whyte said. “Every fight I’ve had with Matchroom has been like that. But I don’t worry about that. Let’s see what happens.”

If Joshua wants to continue to make noise, he will need to win this fight, which he should have no problem doing. Hopefully, if he does win, a fight with Wilder is next.

Photo: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Wilder on knockout of Helenius: ‘I set him up’

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.

Photos: Deontay Wilder meets the Giants

Former WBC Heavyweight World Champion and boxing superstar Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder visited the New York Giants facility on Wednesday, as he prepares to take on top-rated Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius in a WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator on Saturday, October 15 topping a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The pay-per-view telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will see Wilder look to make his first step toward becoming a two-time heavyweight champion with an emphatic victory over the hard-hitting Helenius. Wilder’s first title reign saw him rack up an astounding 10 consecutive successful defenses and a staggering 91.1% knockout rate, combining to make him one of the biggest stars in the sport today.

On Wilder’s tour of the Giants facility, he met with General Manager Joe Schoen, Head Coach Brian Daboll, star running back Saquon Barkley and other members of the team, as the 4-1 Giants look to continue their surprising early-season success against the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday.

Here is what Wilder had to say about his time with the New York Giants:

Deontay Wilder:

 Standing (L-R): Adoree’ Jackson, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Deontay Wilder, Saquon Barkley, Xavier McKinney, Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence Sitting (L-R): Darnay Holmes, Nick McCloud

“I’m here in New York and it’s only right that I stop by this great facility and visit the New York Giants. A lot of people doubted them this season and they’re 4-1. It’s a big blessing. We’ve got one of my guys here, Xavier [McKinney] representing Alabama, so we know him very well. And Coach Daboll too so there are a lot of Alabama ties here.

“Saquon is a great player. A great guy with great spirit when you get to know him. I have a battle on Saturday and they have one on Sunday. I came here to check out the facility, see what their regimen is, how their practice goes and it’s been a great time.

“Growing up, I played football, basketball, baseball and if I had time for soccer, I would have played that as well. But once I got into boxing, it just took over my life. It’s a year-round business so you can’t take it easy. But I used to play everything from wide receiver to quarterback. That was one of my big things. I was always tall as a quarterback so I could see over everyone. At wide receiver, I’d run a hitch route and they would just throw it up in the air. Today made me reminisce a little bit.

“I plan to come in at my happy weight. Meaning, whatever I weigh, I’ll be happy. I came up here looking for sparring partners, looked at the players and told Coach Daboll, ‘Coach what are you feeding these guys? They’re so huge.’ These guys are so huge, I’d have to be the quarterback where it’s safer. I don’t want to get fed to these guys, they’ll eat me up alive.

“I’m not sure how long my fight against Robert Helenius will be. This second reign is going to be about having fun. I don’t have anything to prove, I’ve gained so much success, and everything I have done inside the ring has been set in stone with my statue in my hometown of Tuscaloosa. So, at this point in time, whatever comes my way is a blessing. But you already know I don’t get paid for overtime so we’re going for the knockout.”

Photos: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

Melnicki, Rivera added to Wilder-Helenius undercard

Exciting rising prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. will return to action facing Limberth Ponce in an 8/10-round super welterweight showdown that headlines PBC Prelims on FS2 and FOX Deportes this Saturday, October 15 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The FS2 telecast begins at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and also features unbeaten top lightweight contender Michel Rivera battling California’s Jerry Pérez in an eight-round matchup, and undefeated heavyweight Gurgen Hovhannisyan in an eight-round showdown against Bronx-native Michael Coffie that kicks off the telecast.

Prelims will precede a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View event at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT headlined by the return of boxing superstar and former longtime heavyweight world champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder as he takes on hard-hitting Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius in a WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator.

Representing Roseland, New Jersey, Mielnicki (12-1, 8 KOs) returns to fight at Barclays Center for the second-straight fight after stopping Jimmy Williams in six-rounds in July. The 20-year-old will look to add a third victory to his 2022 record, after kicking the year off with a unanimous decision over Dan Karpency in April. Mielnicki first turned heads during his exceptional amateur career where he compiled a 147-22 record and was named the Most Outstanding Boxer of the 2011 Junior National Golden Gloves, amongst many accolades before turning pro.

Born in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico, Ponce (19-5, 11 KOs) fights out of Rock Island, Illinois throughout his pro career that dates back to 2012. The 31-year-old won eight of nine fights before dropping a December 2021 bout against unbeaten Joey Spencer. Most recently, Ponce scored a unanimous decision over Ramiro Hernandez in May.

Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and now fighting out of Miami, Fla. Rivera (23-0, 14 KOs) burst onto the scene in 2019, making his U.S. debut with a victory over Rene Tellez Giron. The 24-year-old continued his ascent with five more victories in 2020 and 2021 including knockouts of Jon Fernandez and Anthony Mercado. Most recently Rivera dominated the previously unbeaten Joseph Adorno on his way to a unanimous decision in March.

Trained alongside four-division champion Leo Santa Cruz and his family, Pérez (14-1, 11 KOs) bounced back from an April 2021 defeat against top lightweight contender Frank Martin by knocking out Erick Lanzas Jr. in May. The 29-year-old from Oak Hills, California had put together a three-fight knockout streak heading into the Martin fight, which included a 2020 KO of then once-beaten Joshua Zuniga.

The 24-year-old Hovhannisyan (3-0, 3 KOs) has delivered three consecutive knockouts since turning pro in September 2021. Originally from Yerevan, Armenia, he now fights out of Los Angeles as he looks to bolster his heavyweight resume. Most recently, Hovhannisyan blasted out Jesse Bryan on his way to a second round knockout in May.

Coffie (13-2, 10 KOs) hopes to continue his climb back to contention after back-to-back defeats to Jonny Rice in July 2021 and January of this year. A Marine Corps veteran who picked up boxing after returning from overseas, Coffie quickly impressed in amateur tournaments enough to earn sparring assignments with Deontay Wilder and Adam Kownacki. He was born in the Bronx, but now trains in Orlando, Florida and most recently knocked out Fulgencio Zuniga in July.

The non-televised undercard lineup will include unbeaten super bantamweight prospects Michael Angeletti (6-0, 5 KOs) and Jeremy Adorno (7-0, 3 KOs) in a six-round showdown, welterweight prospect Keeshawn Williams (9-1-1, 2 KOs) in a six-round matchup against Julio Rosa (5-1, 2 KOs), Cuban heavyweight Geovany Bruzón (7-1, 6 KOs) battling the unbeaten James Evans Jr. (4-0-1, 6 KOs) in a four/six round bout and unbeaten super bantamweight prospect Miguel Román (2-0) taking on fellow unbeaten José Negrete (2-0, 2 KOs).

Wilder: ‘It’s good to know that Usyk will be in the arena’

Former WBC Heavyweight World Champion and boxing superstar Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder(42-2-1, 41 KOs) previewed his long-awaited return to the ring during a media workout in Las Vegas Thursday, as he prepares to take on top-rated Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius(31-3, 20 KOs) in a WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator on Saturday, October 15 topping a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The pay-per-view telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will see Wilder look to make his first step toward becoming a two-time heavyweight champion with an emphatic victory over the hard-hitting Helenius. Wilder’s first title reign saw him rack up an astounding 10 consecutive successful defenses and a staggering 91.1% knockout rate, combining to make him one of the biggest stars in the sport today.

Wilder talked a number of topics, including a possible fight with unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, who is expected to be ringside for Wilder-Helenius.

On what he expects from Helenius…

“I always want a good matchup. Robert (Helenius) has been on a winning streak and he’s here. I’ve been hearing he’s supposed to be the mandatory for (Oleksandr) Usyk and however that’s laid out, but I know he’s coming with his A+++ game. They always do when they fight me.

“With Robert, I think he’s gotten even more confident because he’s been sparring with me for many, many years. So we kind of know each other. At this point in camp, we’re trying to do some things that he’s never seen before. And I’m sure he’s trying to do some things that I’ve never seen before. And the one thing I like about Robert is that he has a warrior’s heart, just like me.”

Toby Acuna/Premier Boxing Champions

On training nonstop for long lengths of time…

“We’ve been doing 30 or 40 rounds nonstop. Only time I get water is during the break. I’ve just been doing things like that to challenge myself, doing things that have never been done before, or that you don’t really do in boxing. I wanted to see how my body adjusts to the long length of time without a break. When you can go a long time without taking a break, you’re in shape.”

On what’s special about fighting at Barclays Center…

“It’s not only just the beautiful arena that they have there, but they pack so many electrifying fans in there… I think Barclays Center has some of the best fans around. Every time I’ve been there, I’ve had an open-armed welcome, and I’m going to receive the same, or even greater, this time around. And I’m all smiles. I’ve been ready to come back to Barclays Center for some time now, and I get that opportunity… I’m coming back Brooklyn!”

On Usyk potentially being ringside on October 15 and a possible showdown against him in the near future…

“It’s music to my ears. I hold Usyk to be a very honorable person and a man of his word. So I’m looking forward to that. I’m not looking past Robert by any means. It’s good to know that Usyk will be in the arena. Welcome to a great show. And to all the fans, welcome to a great show for whoever is watching and attending, but I’m not looking past Robert.

“For Usyk to be able to bless me with a title shot when I’ve blessed so many during my reign, it’s a great feeling. So we’re going to get past October 15, and then after that we can see what happens. I’ve got a lot of things lined up, a lot of options in the works for me… But when it’s dealing with a title shot you’ve got to jump on it when the opportunity presents itself.”

On a renewed energy and doing things ‘his way’ in the second half of his career…

“It feels good. Even in my first reign, a lot of it was my way. But this right here is totally 100% Deontay Wilder’s way. I’m in a different position right now. And it just feels great to be in the position I’m in with no pressure. I don’t need the business anymore. When I do it, I do it for my own personal reasons. I’m doing it for the people and I’m doing it for some hardware, some titles.”

Ruiz after defeating Ortiz: ‘If Deontay Wins in October, we can make this fight happen’

Former unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. moved one step closer to a possible fight with former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder after scoring three knockdowns on his way to a unanimous decision victory over Luis Ortiz in their WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator Sunday night from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles(FOX PPV).

The first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent won by scores of 114-111(twice) and 113-112.

Photos: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

Ruiz (35-2, 22 KOs) knocked Ortiz down two times in the second round and one time in the seventh. In the second round, Ruiz delivered a clean right hand to score his first knockdown, and Ortiz (33-3, 28 KOs) would hit the canvas a second time in the round from Ruiz combination.. In round seven, Ruiz struck again, backing his opponent up with a straight right before moving close and dropping Ortiz with an overhand right.

“Everyone was doubting me, but I worked so hard for this fight,” Ruiz said. “Ortiz is a warrior who hits hard. I did a beautiful job boxing him around. I showed more class than I usually do just coming forward.”

To Ortiz’s credit, he battled in this fight. In fact, Ortiz even owned a slight 78-76 edge in punches landed according to CompuBox, but it was Ruiz’s 67 power punches to Ortiz’s 56 that made the difference.

“I told you I was going to be a warrior, and that’s what I did,” said Ortiz. “This is Cuba vs. Mexico. This is what I live for. To everyone who said that I’m old, I gave you a war today. There are always surprises in boxing, and that’s what you got if you didn’t think I’d give it my all.”

After the fight, Ruiz stated his willingness to meet Wilder in a possible blockbuster showdown if Wilder is successful in his ring return on October 15 against Robert Helenius on FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View. Wilder, who was ringside, seemed interested in the potential matchup.

“If Deontay Wins in October, me and him are with the same management, and we can make this fight happen,” said Ruiz Jr. “Let’s do it. Let’s get it on. I’m hungry, and I want to be champion again and bring that belt back to Mexico.”

Wilder-Ruiz is a big fight and, as Ruiz said, an easy fight to make since both fighters are with PBC. It would be interesting to see if Ruiz could stand up to Wilder’s power or whether Wilder could avoid getting caught with those explosive shots from Ruiz.

Would be fun to find out!!

Wilder: ‘I’ve had a great career, and now I’m back again for my second reign’

Former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder(42-2-1, 41 KOs) is back and will return to the ring after a year away to battle heavyweight contender Robert Helenius(31-3, 20 KOs) on October 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn(FOX PPV).

The 36-year-old Wilder is looking to return to his winning ways after getting stopped in his last two fights against Tyson Fury. 

For this fight against Helenius, who has won three straight, all by TKO, Wilder is training in Las Vegas, and according to the Alabama native, he’s doing things differently in this camp.

“We’ve put in over 400 rounds so far, and training camp has been great,” Wilder said via satellite on Monday. “I’m trying to do something different with adding Don House to the team working in Las Vegas. We wanted to change up some things, go more rounds and see what happened.

“This training sounds like it could be a lot on your body, but when you’re in shape physically and mentally, nothing is impossible.”

Wilder has sparred with Helenius over years, so the two have a relationship. However, for Wilder, this is business.

“I’m looking forward to October 15 and sharing the ring with Robert,” Wilder said. “I highly respect Robert and his team. We’ve always had a connection, but unfortunately, in this business, you have to go against each other sometimes. But make no mistake, just because we know each other, it doesn’t mean this fight won’t be interesting…

“I know what Helenius is capable of doing, and I know what kind of heart he has. He’s coming to bring his best, and I always bring mine. This is a serious fight between two warriors in the heavyweight division. We’re coming to put it all on the line.”

The Barclays Center has been good to Wilder. He’s 4-0 in that arena, including four knockouts. The last time he was at Barclays, he knocked out Dominic Breazeale in one round.

“Every time I fight, you’re on the edge of your seat because I’m going in there 110%,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this fight and coming back to Barclays Center, where some of my most exciting knockouts have occurred. I have remarkable memories there, and I can’t wait to display my talent.”

This summer, “The Bronze Bomber” got a statue erected in his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. That statue motivated Wilder to get back in the ring.

“Getting a statue in my hometown let me know that there was more work to do. I have to continue to fight and motivate and inspire. This reign is going to be a special one because it’s going to be dedicated to the people…

“I’ve had a great career, and now I’m back again for my second reign. It’s amazing to reminisce about all the years and about how I got to where I am now. It’s been an honor. We had a game plan, and we executed that game plan.”

Wilder still has an opportunity to make a lot of money. There are still big fights out there for him, including big-money fights against Anthony Joshua, the winner of Andy Ruiz-Luis Ortiz, and even possibly a battle with unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk. However, if Wilder wants those big fights, business must be handled against Helenius.

Ruiz: ‘A matchup against Deontay Wilder would be an amazing fight’

Former unified heavyweight champion Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr. held a media workout at his gym in the San Diego area on Wednesday as he prepares to face top contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz in a WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator that headlines a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View on September 4 in Labor Day weekend action at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.

The heavyweight clash will top a stacked four-fight pay-per-view telecast beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT as Ruiz looks to move one step closer to regaining the heavyweight crown he held in 2019.

 Ruiz was joined by his new trainer Alfredo Osuna, as they prepare for their first fight together on the big stage Labor Day Weekend, along with stablemate and unbeaten super bantamweight Anthony Garnica, who will compete on the off-TV undercard.

Here is what Ruiz had to say Wednesday:

On expecting a great fight against Ortiz:

“I’m feeling really good. The hard work has already paid off and now it’s just time to have fun on September 4. We’re going to let it all out in the ring. Me and Ortiz are coming to be champions, so you know it’s going to be a hell of a fight.

“I’m just ready. I had a long training camp. I know what Ortiz is bringing to the ring and I know what I’m capable of. I just have to stay focused and execute.”

Photos: Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotion

On going for a knockout:

“When I try to go for the knockout, it usually doesn’t go my way. I’m training for 12 rounds and if the knockout comes, it comes. You best believe I’m in condition to go hard for all 12 rounds.

“I’ve been training hard because we want to climb back up the ladder of the heavyweight division. That’s why we picked a tough guy like Luis Ortiz. He has a hard style, but I’m positive and confident that I’m going to win this fight on September 4.”

On atmosphere at Crypto.com Arena:

“It’s going to be a crazy atmosphere in that arena. All the Mexican fans will be there supporting, and may the best man win. I’m glad that Ortiz is predicting a knockout, because I’m ready for anything. My only prediction is that I’m going to win.”

On fighting Deontay Wilder:

“A matchup against Deontay Wilder would be an amazing fight. The heavyweight division is wide open, but I’m not overlooking Luis Ortiz. If Wilder is next, he’s next. It’s an easy fight to make.”

On his mindset entering the fight:

“I feel like I’m in a good state of mind right now. I’m doing everything that I’m supposed to do. I underestimated my last opponent but I’m really focused on what Luis Ortiz brings. This is another chapter for me and my career.”

On Ortiz’s age:

“Ortiz’s age doesn’t matter, especially in the heavyweight division. Because one punch is going to change the whole fight. I just have to be smart and explosive and turn it up when I need to turn it up.”