Deontay Wilder next fight: Bronze Bomber ‘finalising deal’ for boxing match vs Zhang in Saudi Arabia

Boxing star Deontay Wilder

Former heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder is finalising a deal to fight Chinese powerhouse Zhilei Zhang in Saudi Arabia on June 1, according to a report.

Knockout artist Wilder suffered the only defeat of his career aside from his consecutive defeats to Tyson Fury when he lost on points to Joseph Parker in Riyadh in a surprisingly meek performance in December.

The 38-year-old is said by ESPN sources to be planning a return to the city to face Zhang, another notoriously hard-hitter with 21 knockouts from 26 wins, on the undercard of Artur Beterbiev’s clash with Dmitry Bivol for the undisputed light heavyweight title.

Zhang lost his interim WBO title when he was beaten by Parker by decision as support to Anthony Joshua’s win over Francis Ngannou in Riyadh earlier this month.

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The 40-year-old – known as Big Bang – had looked imperious in twice knocking out previously undefeated Briton Joe Joyce in 2023.

Wilder had hoped to set up a lucrative and long-awaited fight with Joshua by beating Parker but questions over his future intensified when he gave a philosophical interview in the ring after the third defeat of his 47-fight career.

He has emphasised his passion to return in subsequent interviews, and victory over Zhang would go some way to re-establishing the American as a title contender, just as it would for his opponent.

Wilder v Zhang: Hrgovic v Dubois too?

In another heavyweight bout on the purported card, unbeaten Croatian Olympic medalist Filip Hrgovic is said to be setting up a showdown with England’s Daniel Dubois, who beat Jarrell Miller on the same night as Wilder’s defeat to Parker.

Dubois has 19 knockouts from 20 wins but was stopped in the ninth round when he challenged Oleksandr Usyk for the Ukrainian’s belts last August.

Hrgovic beat Zhang on the scorecards in 2022 and has 14 knockouts from 17 wins, as well as a bronze medal from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Should the event be confirmed, it will come two weeks after Fury and Usyk are scheduled to meet in the Saudi capital for the undisputed crown.

The fight had been set to take place on February 17 before the WBC champion pulled out with a cut above his right eye.

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