Deontay Wilder forced to wait as bridgerweight title fight is agreed

Deontay Wilder at Riyadh Season.jpg
Deontay Wilder at Riyadh Season.jpg

Deontay Wilder getting a crack at the WBC bridgerweight title will have to wait following a mandatory agreement.

As World Boxing News first reported, Wilder would have been approved to challenge for the title against Lawrence Okolie if the American had moved quickly.

WBC President told WBN that number one contender Kevin Lerena was due to get his shot, but Wilder may have had a small window if he’d wanted the fight.

Manager Shelly Finkel wouldn’t speculate on Wilder dropping down in weight, leaving Lerena free to negotiate a deal. On Saturday, Sulaiman confirmed Lerena’s shot was imminent.

“The WBC has canceled the purse offer ceremony as parties have reached an agreement for the Bridgerweight fight between Champion Lawrence Okolie and the interim champion Kevin Lerena,” said the WBC boss.

It’s no secret that Okolie vs. Wilder would be a mega-event in the UK, potentially selling out an arena. However, Wilder will be afforded a fight against the winner if he decides in the coming months. WBN thought the fight would be ideal for Anthony Joshua’s clash with Daniel Dubois. Okolie, but that’s now off the menu.

Lerena is first in line, meaning Okolie has to put thoughts about Wilder on the back burner. By the time they can fight, Wilder will be 39 and possibly looking at retirement unless there’s a mega-offer on the table.

Okolie must strike while the iron is hot as soon as the Lerena defense is in the bag to have any opportunity to secure the most significant fight at 224 pounds. Wilder is hurting after two losses, so could walk away this year if no significant deals are done.

Wilder could have a path to become a two-weight world champion through Okolie, one of his dreams when he started boxing, before having one final crack at the sport’s biggest prize. But that can only happen if “The Bronze Bomber” wants a swift return to action and doesn’t have one foot out of the boxing door.

Attending the Okolie vs Lerena fight could be the telling factor for any future Wilder involvement at bridgerweight.

Read all articles and exclusive interviews by Phil Jay. Learn more about the author, experienced boxing writer, and World Boxing News Editor since 2010. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.

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