The Ring: You have been talking about retirement, but you’re here for a while longer?
Deontay Wilder: “Most definitely. I think I’m dedicating myself three more years, that’s probably nine more fights, maybe six, who knows, but you get so much information about me from different media outlets and a lot of them are not correct, they want to be first instead of being correct, but I thought I would take this time and let everyone know and you hear it from my mouth that first and foremost that everybody can have an understanding that I’m only dedicating myself three more years. And we’ve got to understand that three years is not long at all. It’s going to come and go so fast, so I just want people to enjoy these last three years. It’s going to be amazing.”
The Ring: When you turned pro, the idea was to put food on the table and to be able to look after your daughter. So what’s the motivation to fight on, because you now have generational wealth?
DW: “Most definitely. God is good. I’m in a great position. I’m in a position 95 percent of fighters wish they were in. Ninety-five percent of fighters don’t have anything to show for it after this business is over. And it don’t make no sense when we are the product. It don’t make no sense. Without us, no one would come to fights and we are the ones who risk our lives for the entertainment of others all over the world and with that being said it means a lot to have accomplished so much throughout my career and to be able to attain generational wealth to the point that I don’t need the business no more, the business needs me.”
The Ring: So why roll the dice again?
DW: “My ultimate motivation is when I was presented a statue in my hometown and now all my accomplishments in and out of the ring are set in stone with the statue, so when the inevitable comes to us all, that statue will still remain and stand tall. I’m very happy for that… I’ve got three more years left, I want to do it until the end of 40 and since I inspire and motivate so many people not only saying it but seeing it with my own two eyes, it lead me to be like, “Man, I can still come back and do great work in the business.” And this is why I’m here, so you can really call me a true people’s champion.”
The Ring: The last fight with Fury was hard. Do you still have the appetite for a hard fight like that?
DW: “Always. I wouldn’t be in the business if I didn’t. My career has always been hard. Enduring hardship is nothing new to me. When you go through hardship, you roll with the punches and you do what you’ve got to do. I only really focus on the things I have control on, but the things you don’t, you still give 110 percent not matter what?”
The Ring: What does your partner think about you fighting on, is she cool with it?
DW: “Most definitely. She supports me in everything that I do. I had a meeting with my family and all my kids and the kids were smiling ear to ear, because they love seeing their father in action and doing the things that he enjoys doing. My partner as well. She supports me wholeheartedly in everything that I do, and she knows that if I’m doing it, there’s a purpose and a reason for me doing it and she agrees with everything. If it’s making me happy, she’s happy. That’s all that matters. Whatever makes you happy, you should continue doing it. Especially if it brings you so much positive things and benefits, not only me as the fighter as the one risking my life but it brings a lot of benefits to my family as well, not only currently but in the future.”
The Ring: How about Malik Scott, was he full steam ahead or did he say you don’t have to do it anymore?
DW: “My brother was the same way. All my brothers, when I make a decision on something they know I come with an open heart and an open mind about it. They know I didn’t come up with this off the top of my head because I was around boxing talk and I just got the itch and wanted to come back. No. With that being said, they’re all in for me and they’re going to do the best they can do to prepare me for every match up and fight and I’m going to give 100 percent in training and give the best fights I can when I step in the ring. Everybody was for it, because they see I was for it and I meant what I said. If I had hesitation or something like that, I think they would have called me out.”
The Ring: Did you need a break and to take a step back to realise this is what you want to do for another three years?
DW: “I didn’t have to take a step back from the business to know if it was what I needed or wanted, it’s good in general just to take a step back from the business, especially when you’ve been going and going and going. You’ve got to understand that as a fighter, we are never 100 percent, even when we step into the ring, because in training, that can take a lot out of you. You still have a sore body and other complications that might be going on. No we just try to keep it together for one night, one fight, and when it’s over that’s when we can fully recover. But the business is a tough business. Boxing is a tough business to be involved in. You’ve just got to keep your ears, eyes and heart open but shielded and protected from so many different things. But once you have the right people around you, certain things go smoother than others… I’m looking forward to continuing on the journey and these last three years, giving the world the best of Deontay Wilder.”
The Ring: How do you think you will feel when you step back in the ring?
DW: “I think I’m going to feel good. I’m not new to this. I’m not someone that’s a novice and doesn’t understand what’s going on or what I’m getting myself into. So being that I have the experience at the top level, it’s just picking up from where I left off, basically, enjoying the fans, the lights, the camera and loving seeing everybody come to display my talent. I’m going to be very comfortable when I get back in there.”
The Ring: You’re fighting Robert Helenius in Brooklyn, why’ve you gone for the combination?
DW: “I had three different locations that I could have chosen as well as a spot overseas, but with Robert, I like him, he’s on a winning streak, he’s a warrior and he fights with his heart and I can relate to that. I’m the same way. No matter what, it makes for a great fight and I know we are going to bring the best out of each other. We always have in sparring and it’s not going to be any different when it’s time for it to count. To go to New York, I thought it was a great place because I haven’t been there for a long time. I consider it almost like a second time, a place where I’ve had my most dramatic, most memorable, most electrifying knockouts and I’m looking forward to coming back and continuing those memories and accumulating those electrifying knockouts right there in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.”
The Ring: You mentioned things you hear in the media, we heard the Helenius fight tees you up for Andy Ruiz next. Is that the thought process?
DW: “Well there’s a lot of different things going on. You’ve got Ruiz, you’ve got a lot of other fighters. The latest is Helenius, he’s going to be there and there’s a lot of different avenues that can be crossed. Once this fight is over with, we’ll see what’s on the table when the time comes. Right now, my main focus is on Robert and I always say I never look past an opponent but I look through them, that’s why I can talk about what’s next to a certain extent. But for the most part, I’m just focusing on Robert and that’s all I want to focus on at this moment in time until that chapter is closed. And then we can move forward.”
The Ring: I get that, but I guess the plan is you’d like to fight Usyk who’s got most of the belts?
DW: “Most definitely. It’s not likely that I am the one that gets opportunities from other fighters. When I was in position, I blessed as many fighters as I could, I blessed so many fighters and changed their lives, and it makes me feel good to know that I’ve done that. Some of the guys, we’ve become even closer out of the ring because I blessed them tremendously and they acknowledged that… so to receive it on the other end if it happens, it’s going to be a great thing.”
The Ring: Do you want to fight away from the USA? These last three years, do you have a bucket list of things you’d like to tick off or achieve before you retire?
“In the business of boxing?
“I don’t have too many, but one of them I definitely want to go and fight in Africa. That’s definitely on my to-do list. That’s my ultimate thing. There are other locations in the States, but outside the States I’d definitely like to go to Africa and have a great fight out there.”