Deontay Wilder returned to the ring on Saturday with a devastating first-round demolition job of Robert Helenius. The Bronze Bomber chopped down his former sparring partner with a short right hand off the backfoot that sent a clear message to the rest of the heavyweight division.
There had been questions about what effect consecutive knockout losses to Tyson Fury would have on Wilder but the American bounced back in the best way possible. Before the contest, Wilder spoke about a number of fights he would entertain next if he beat Helenius including a fourth fight with Fury and a blockbuster showdown with unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Here, Express Sport weighs up the most likely next fight options for Wilder.
Andy Ruiz Jr
Andy Ruiz Jr is the most probable option for Wilder. The Bronze Bomber’s last fight was a WBC eliminator bout which automatically elevated the winner into a final eliminator against Ruiz Jr for a shot at Fury’s green strap. Ruiz Jr defeated Luis Ortiz in the other semi-final eliminator back in September and is ready to take on Wilder next year.
When asked about a clash with Anthony Joshua, Wilder branded it ‘the biggest fight in the world’ and is clearly keen to get the long-awaited showdown done before he hangs up his gloves in three years’ time. In a recent interview, Wilder expressed a burning desire to stage the contest in Africa in what he described as a ‘return to the motherland’.
However, Joshua is expected to rebuild with ‘two quick fights’ against ‘credible top 15 opponents’ before returning to the top. As a result, Wilder will likely have to wait a little longer for his African dream.
Few will be clambering for a fourth fight between Fury and Wilder given the conclusive endings to their last two but both men have not ruled out the possibility. This fight is less likely to happen next but could become a reality if Wilder chooses to go down the Ruiz Jr route and triumph in their WBC final eliminator bout.