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Joshua v Wilder fight will happen after Zhang ‘head is knocked off’, says Bronze Bomber

Boxing star Deontay Wilder

Deontay Wilder has said a fight with Anthony Joshua is the contest fans are “always going to want to see”, predicting that he will meet his fellow former heavyweight world champion after beating Zhilei Zhang on June 1.

Wilder and Joshua were thought to have been on a direct collision course before the fighter known as the ‘Bronze Bomber’ suffered a surprising meek defeat to Joseph Parker on points on December 23.

Briton Joshua beat Otto Wallin in the fifth round on the same night in Saudi Arabia and has since knocked out former UFC champion Francis Ngannou.

“I always said it’ll be a shame if we never fought,” said Wilder, speaking to BBC Sport.”It only takes that one fight, that one night. June 1st is going to be that night, that one fight.”

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Wilder was the WBC champion for more than five years before suffering the first of two successive defeats to Tyson Fury – Joshua’s compatriot and rival – in February 2022.

Joshua held the WBA, IBF and WBO belts twice between 2016 and 2021, losing them to Oleksandr Usyk – who Fury is scheduled to face on May 18 – in September 2021.

Joshua Wilder fight ‘wanted’

Wilder replied “the high 90s” when he was asked what the percentage chance is of him taking on Joshua. “People are always going to want to see that fight, no matter what,” added the 38-year-old.

“Deontay Wilder knocks [Zhang’s] head off and the world goes crazy. And there we go again, Wilder versus Joshua. They want it.”

The American has signed for long-term Joshua partner Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and will face fellow famed puncher Zhang after a press conference on Monday in which he was one of 10 fighters on the card to be unmasked at a table in London.

Wilder said Parker is “definitely not better” than him and believes he has changed since the third defeat of his 47-fight career.

“That monster wasn’t there no more,” he said. “It was one of those boring fights where if anyone did any type of action, they won.

“That’s how I look at that fight. He was just the better man on the night.”

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