Deontay Wilder wants to fight Anthony Joshua in Africa

Deontay Wilder returns to action on Saturday after a year out
Deontay Wilder returns to action on Saturday after a year out

Deontay Wilder believes a bout with Anthony Joshua is still “the number one fight in the world” as he prepares to make his return to action on Saturday.

Wilder, 36, last fought a year ago and faces Robert Helenius in New York on his comeback.

The heavyweight’s goal is to become world champion again, but Wilder also has big plans for a bout against Britain’s Joshua.

“I would love to do that fight in Africa,” he told BBC Sport.

“It’s still the number one fight in the world for everyone. Everywhere I go, people always talk about me versus Joshua.”

There have been several classic heavyweight encounters in Africa, including Muhammad Ali’s fight with George Foreman in Kinshasa in 1974.

“We both have roots from there,” Wilder explained.

“I think it would be an amazing place to have it, to go back home. To go back to the motherland. A continent full of our people. I can just see that being an amazing fight, win, lose or draw.

“I think we’ll get the respect and love from all the people over there.”

  • Joshua too ‘cautious’ – Wilder

Wilder seriously considered retirement after suffering successive stoppage defeats to Tyson Fury, but now says he plans to fight for another three years.

Joshua and Wilder were previously in talks about an undisputed fight in 2019 and 2020 when both men were still world champions.

Wilder held the WBC title while Joshua was the WBA (Super), WBO and IBF champion.

Joshua recently failed to reach terms with WBC champion Fury, but Wilder is confident a deal could be struck.

He said: “We’re serious and we just need them to be serious as well. We tried to make the fight and it didn’t happen. It’s a new day and time. All things are possible.”

Joshua, the two-time world champion, will also soon be on the comeback trail after suffering successive defeats to unified champion Oleksandr Usyk.

Wilder believes the fights with Usyk, particularly the rematch in August, showed Joshua has a “stamina” problem.

“I just felt he was very cautious,” Wilder said of the Watford-born fighter.

“For me it looks like he has a real serious stamina problem. I feel like he didn’t want to exchange a lot because of that.

“It allowed him to fall back a little bit and not allow him to throw certain punches and combinations. I think if he fixed that you would see a better Joshua, not just in that fight but fights to come.

“I know if he’s able to get everything together, stamina and all that, I think you’ll see a different Anthony Joshua.”