Ahead of the much celebrated WBC heavyweight challenge on Saturday, Tyson usurped Vladimir Klitschko in a unanimous decision over the Ukrainian heavyweight who had been defending his titles since 2006.
At the time, Klitschko held four of the available five heavyweight titles and had successfully fended off attempts to get them off him with relative ease, sending the division into a coma. But Tyson Fury’s win ended an 11-year reign, awakening a dormant division.
Wilder is another man whose path to the pinnacle of heavyweight boxing hasn’t been straightforward either. He’s a great boxer, been so long in the sport yet he hasn’t lost any of the raw traits usually attributed to amateurs.
Again, like Fury, Deontay Wilder simply loves the sport. He is not keen on making the big bucks from bouts, he just wants to brutally dismantle anyone who comes his way, be it Arthur Spilka, Eric Molina, Luis Ortiz, bring on anybody and it usually ends one way, a Knock-out. The highest Deontay Wilder has ever earned from a single bout is $2.1million for beating Luis Ortiz in March.
By comparison, Anthony Joshua earned $25.5 million for beating Alexander Povetkin in September. Although it is unfair to assume Joshua is usually motivated by money, it is a sport and it will be foolhardy to ignore the financial gains, really.
When Tyson Fury defeated Vladimir Klitschko, the WBC wasn’t on the line. Vladimir never had it, his brother Vitali always did and both men never crossed paths. Deontay Wilder took it off Bernier Stiverne the only chance he got and has never lost it.
For wilder, here lies the opportunity of a lifetime. It took Tyson Fury two years and a couple of rejections to get on the bill with Vladimir Klitschko, and Anthony Joshua wasn’t going to settle for a cheap fight against Deontay Wilder just to please the public anyway, but Tyson Fury will pick anyone and fight anywhere just to get his gypsy on.
On Saturday, both men will put their unbeaten reputation built over 10 years on the line for the ultimate price: Anthony Joshua and a chance to unify the heavyweight division.