Deontay Wilder has said the elaborate outfit he wore on his ring walk weighed 40 pounds and was the key reason for his defeat to Tyson Fury. The beaten former champion added that he plans to trigger a clause in his contract for a second rematch.
Wilder said the outfit, worn to represent Black History Month, weighed him down so much that he didn’t have the legs to withstand Fury’s early assault in their Las Vegas heavyweight title fight on Saturday.
“He didn’t hurt me at all, but the simple fact is my uniform was way too heavy for me,” Wilder told Yahoo Sports. “I didn’t have no legs from the beginning of the fight. In the third round, my legs were just shot all the way through. But I’m a warrior and people know that I’m a warrior.”
“A lot of people were telling me: ‘it looked like something was wrong with you.’ Something was, but when you’re in the ring you have to bluff a lot of things. I tried my best to do so. I knew I didn’t have the legs because of my uniform,” Wilder said.
The 34-year-old added that he tried the costume on for the first time on the night before the much-anticipated rematch. “It weighed 40 pounds with the helmet and all the batteries. I wanted my tribute to be great for Black History Month … and I guess I put that before anything.”
Wilder has 30 days to officially exercise his option for a third fight, with a 60-40 purse split in Fury’s favour. After his win on Saturday, Fury said he was “almost sure” there would be another rematch – potentially at the city’s 72,000-capacity Allegiant Stadium, soon to be home to the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders.
The former WBC world heavyweight champion was knocked down twice by Fury before his corner stopped the fight in the seventh round. It was his first loss in 44 fights – and Wilder fiercely criticised his assistant trainer, Mark Breland, for throwing in the towel.
“We had many discussions for years about this situation and for him to still do it after Jay [Deas, Wilder’s main trainer] told him not to, it really hurt me,” Wilder told AP. “Then I heard he was influenced by another fighter in the audience and it makes a lot of conspiracy theories in your head. It didn’t make sense.”
Wilder also revealed he had received an outpouring of love after the first defeat of his 12-year professional career – but remained frustrated he wasn’t allowed to fight on. “I’m going out on my shield,” he said. “If I say I’m willing to kill a man in the ring, I’m willing to abide by that same principle as a warrior – to die in the ring.”