Boxing Sport

I felt like a zombie against Fury; I wasn’t there from first bell – Wilder

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Deontay Wilder believes it should be obvious to anyone who watches footage of their rematch that he wasn’t his usual self from the opening bell of his second fight against Tyson Fury.

Wilder felt like “a zombie” as soon as it started February 22 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. According to Wilder, his physical state enabled Fury to defeat the former WBC heavyweight champion as easily as he did that night.

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The 34-year-old Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) detailed his condition during an interview with co-hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Mike Rosenthal for the most recent episode of “The PBC Podcast.”

“The thing about it that it’s easy to understand, you know, what type of person Deontay Wilder was in that moment in time, you know,” Wilder said. “Even when I took off my mask, and the things that I was doing, you know, I’ve been in this sport for a very long time, people have seen me fight, you know, all over the world for a very long time. So, people automatically knows, you know, how I am and, you know, how I should look. And people that know boxing know that wasn’t Deontay Wilder that night. I was a zombie that night.

fury wilder rematch
Tyson Fury beat Deontay Wilder to win the WBC heavyweight title in February

“It was something, like I said, I can’t talk about a lot of things, but it wasn’t Deontay Wilder [that] night. You can tell from the mask, my reaction to certain things that I was doing in the ring. You know, you can look from the first fight, into the second fight, and you can tell it was two different people, you know, that night. From a guy that from the first start of the bell was in retreat mode. The first fight, when the first [bell sounded], I was on the hunt. You know, you don’t go backwards. You go forward. And that night I wasn’t myself. I felt like a zombie in there.”

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Two days after Fury stopped Wilder in the seventh round, Wilder revealed to and other outlets that the 40-plus-pound costume he wore for a lengthy ring entrance weakened his legs before their scheduled 12-round rematch began. Wilder drew a lot of criticism for what was viewed as a weak excuse for his poor performance that night.

Unlike their first fight, an assertive Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) pressured Wilder, roughed him up and kept the hard-hitting former champion moving backward for much of their rematch.

Fury knocked down Wilder twice, once apiece in the third and fifth rounds. Referee Kenny Bayless stopped it in the seventh round, once Wilder’s assistant trainer, Mark Breland, threw in the towel.

“No, I wasn’t surprised,” Wilder said regarding Fury’s approach to their rematch. “It’s hard to explain. [From] the first sound of the bell, it’s like I was more in retreat mode. It’s like I wasn’t even there for real. I don’t know how to say it without – I wasn’t there. That’s all I can tell you, I wasn’t there. From the first start, I wasn’t there. You know, my whole body, everything, you know, but it’s gonna be all right.

“Everything’s gonna be alright, trust me, you know. And I’m just looking forward to coming back in there and doing what I gotta do. I don’t wanna say too much. I don’t wanna feel like I’m making any excuses or anything like that. I just want the people to know that I’m happy, I’m in full health and I’m coming back stronger than ever.”

MORE:  Deontay Wilder taken to hospital after his defeat to Tyson Fury

Fury and Wilder are tentatively scheduled to fight a third time October 3 at an undetermined venue. Their rematch initially was supposed to take place July 18 at MGM Grand Garden Arena, but it was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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