Deontay Wilder ‘too powerful,’ asked for bridgerweight ‘exemption’

deontay wilder bridgerweight.jpg
deontay wilder bridgerweight.jpg

Deontay Wilder asked for an exemption from the bridgerweight division, which effectively would rule out a challenge against Lawrence Okolie.

As World Boxing News first reported, current World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman told WBN he would approve a fight between Okolie and Wilder for the 224-pound title. Since then, Okolie has accepted the offer despite Wilder’s radio silence.

WBN also asked Shelly Finkel for his thoughts on Wilder moving down in weight, only to be met with another brick wall due to “The Bronze Bomber” taking time out of the sport following two losses.

It’s unknown if Wilder will return to the sport or retire, even with the bonus of a possible two-weight world title opportunity. The 38-year-old has personal issues to deal with first before contemplating another fight.

However, as World Boxing News has known Wilder for years, the American slugger is not usually one to change his mind. He’s already told Brian Custer on his Last Stand Podcast that he never wanted to be considered for bridgerweight in the first place.

“My career is to be a heavyweight. That’s what I got in it for, and that’s what I’m going to end with,” Wilder adamantly told Custer before stating larger heavyweights holding advantages over him has never been an issue.

“Guys always outweigh me. So putting on weight is not a difficult part for me. My power makes up for all that,” he added.

Could Deontay Wilder fight at bridgerweight?

Only Wilder knows whether his mindset has been altered following defeats to Joseph Parker and Zhilei Zhang. However, he initially stated that bridgerweight wasn’t for him when the WBC created the weight class and an eighteenth boxing division.

“I have too much power for a weight class that low. I should be exempt from that [bridgerweight division],” stated Wilder.

Due to his current form, many would argue that’s no longer the case for Deontay Wilder and that he should consider the move. If Wilder does fight at heavyweight again, even against a lesser-known contender, he’s not assured to be the favorite.

Three battles with Tyson Fury certainly impacted Wilder’s current state. He had hoped to prolong his career until age 40, but the consensus is that the only way for the Tuscaloosa native to do that is to move down in weight.

Wilder beating Okolie, also a considerable puncher, would be a tough ask in the United Kingdom to become a champion again. However, if Wilder pulled it off, it would not be out of the realm of reality to assume that the ex-WBC king could reignite interest in an encounter with rival Anthony Joshua.

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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