WBC world heavyweight title holder Deontay Wilder trained in Brooklyn on Tuesday (January 12) ahead of the third defence of his title, against Artur Szpilka in New York. Wilder will go into the ring looking to defend his unblemished 35-0 (34 KOs) record, against his 26-year-old opponent who stands at 20-1 (15 KOs). The 30-year-old American had been preparing for an orthodox opponent, but says that a late change to southpaw Szpilka does not worry him.
"The preparation for this fight has been crazy, it's been a sign, due to the fact that Szpilka wasn't my original fighter, so we were looking forward to a right hander and he's a southpaw, so we had to change up all our regimes for an orthodox fighter to a southpaw fighter, cancel a lot of flights, brought a lot of sparring partners in," Wilder said after a training session in Brooklyn.
"I haven't sparred or competed against a southpaw in three years so it brought back that challenge to my brain of why I love a southpaw, and I love a pressure fighter too. That's two things I love in boxing, to face an opponent who's a southpaw and a pressure fighter, so i'm ready to perform come Saturday."
The fight will be a step up in class for Szpilka, who will have support from New York's Polish community. "To be honest I respect all my fighters, I never look past no fighter, it takes a lot of heart and courage to get in a ring," Wilder said. "But when I think of Szpilka I don't feel no threat, I don't feel no pressure with him, I'm just looking forward to what I'm capable of doing.
"I'm the most athletic heavyweight in the division period, I've got the highest knockout ratio in the division, God gave me power, and I'm looking to perform, not only for my fans, not only for New York, but for his fans as well, the Polish community. There's going to be a big variety of Polish community there and I'm looking forward to gaining fans and taking some of them home with me."
Wilder won 32 consecutive fights with stoppages within the first four rounds until Haitian-Canadian Bermane Stiverne took him the distance last January. A hand injury hampered him in two further fights and Wilder, now injury free, says he wants to get back to knocking opponents.
"When people get dressed and come to see a heavyweight bout they want to see less skill, more power, they want to see a knockout at the end of the day. They want something that they can relate to back on that date or that fight, of what opponent he knocked out and how he did it, so I think that's going to be very important for me," he said.
Asked if there were any firm plans to fight WBA and WBO title holder Tyson Fury, Wilder admitted he was not looking beyond Saturday's meeting with Szpilka.
"Not at the moment," he said. "The most focus is on this fight right here. If I don't prevail and be victorious in this fight then there's no talks. Nothing else don't matter if I don't have the business right now. So it's close, we've got a couple more, a few more, days before the fight where our total focus is on Artur Szpilka and I need to get rid of him. After that we can look forward to other things and I'm looking forward to 2016 in general, no matter what heavyweight in the division, my goal is to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and I won't stop until I accomplish that."