Wilder vs. Fury II will see the highly anticipated rematch between unbeaten WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay "The Bronze Bomber" Wilder and undefeated lineal champion Tyson "The Gypsy King" Fury as they headline a historic, mega PPV event Saturday, February 22 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The WBC kingpin sat down with his trainer and manager to take an international conference call with the media ahead of his rematch with rival Fury.
Here's what they said:
Shelly Finkel: "I've been with Deontay and with Jay Deas 13 years, and I couldn't be prouder. The man is just special and he's going to prove it again a week from Saturday on the 22nd. This time the count will be done correctly and you will see Deontay's hand raised and they will announce he is still Heavyweight Champion, by knockout."
Jay Deas: "Hope everybody is doing well. Camp has gone fantastic. Deontay was so far ahead of where we needed to be on day one, it was like week three. So he's ready to go and this is the kind of fight and the kind of moment that he's been begging for, for a long time. We're excited for it to be right here. It's going to be fantastic and Deontay Wilder will be the one face, one name and one champion, come the 22nd."
Deontay Wilder: "Yes, baby. Hey thank you, guys. What can I say, it's been a wonderful year for me. Last year was wonderful and this year is a wonderful year starting up as well. I'm just looking forward to February 22. It's a great moment in time for me. So many different events are happening, and of course we know it's Black History Month as well, so I'm looking forward to providing my service to my greatness on black history month and like I said, making Tyson Fury a black history trivia question.
"The first fight was an amazing fight. It was a very controversial fight. We left people confused about what happened or who won. This is where we come and settle everything. This is judgment day. This is the moment where everyone will have a clear conscious after February 22, about who actually won the first fight.
"This is unfinished business. I'm picking up where I left off at. I knocked him out the first time, I didn't get it, but I'm going to knock him out this time again and this time he's not getting up, that's for sure. I promise you that. So I'm looking forward to it. This is a electrifying fight, I'm looking for electrifying energy come February 22 in the arena at MGM Grand. And yes, baby, you don't want to miss this one. as always.
"If you can't make it to the arena at MGM Grand February the 22nd, pick up that remote and click that button please. Fox Sports PPV, ESPN+ PPV, most likely the remote will be right beside you anyway, so let's go. This is the biggest heavyweight title fight in boxing period and this is where it starts. The heavyweight division is so exciting, it's lit, it's on fire, and it's my job to keep it that way. Any questions?
Q: How did you discover that you had special generational all-time great power? And what have you done during the course of your career to help harness that as you've improved and evolved?
Deontay Wilder: "I've always had power. I always tell the story of how my grandmother said I was anointed by God, that God is trying to use me for things. It's just all about living, coming into this world and finding your purpose in life. I think I found one of my purposes in life, and of course that's whooping ass and taking names, at this point in time. And I do that very well.
I've just been blessed tremendously. It's one of the things I can't describe how it transpired. When you have a calling in your life, it's just that. I just have a calling all my life and I'm providing my service to my greatness and I'm showing the world who I am, what I am and the champion said he's not going anywhere.
Most of these things become muscle memory for me. When I'm preparing for a fighter, the preparation for the fight is always great. I always have great sparring partners coming in and giving me great looks that mimic the opponents.
So when it's time for me to fight them, there are certain things, there's a look. I've got the best coaches in the world and none of my coaches ever get acknowledgement and they never get recognized. You've got one of the baddest men on the planet, the hardest hitting puncher in history, and none of my coaches get recognized for their greatness that they display.
They do a great job of scouting my sparring partners so I can have the best look possible to fight some of these guys. They do a lot of film study and to pinpoint mistakes that my opponent makes. So when I'm in a ring, I understand that and I can recognize it when I'm in the ring, so it becomes a muscle memory.
When you have power is this a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because when I hit guys, they're either hurt or they're going to the canvas. And it's a curse, I feel, because I have so much power that when I hit things, I'm either hurting my opponent or anything that I hit or I'm hurting myself and that's it, there's nothing in between.
Q: Do you look at the fight Fury had against Otto Wallin and think maybe Wallin left him a little bit worse for the wear as he goes into the fairly short timing after this rematch?
D. Wilder: "Yes, I haven't seen the fight, but I'm going off of what I heard about certain things. You've seen different highlights with the eye and different things. But Wallin had a great game plan that he instituted and when he saw Fury was vulnerable, he took his chances and by taking his chances, he ended up busting him in the eye and it opened it, which I felt like the fight should have been stopped with a cut so deep and a cut so wide. You can't even see.
But I understand that he had a major fight coming up with me. And he was saved because this fight is happening right now. I will be exploring some of those things Wallin did. I definitely look forward to re-cutting open that eye. Once it is open and blood is all in his face, I might get a little bit on me as well, it's all right, we'll see if they continue to keep that fight on because I'm already dangerous as is.
And if that eye cut open again and it got blood in his face, then that's going to be up to the doctors, because I'm coming in for the kill. They already know my demeanor about myself, you already know my main reason, and you know what I come to do.
I don't play around at all and especially with this fight right here. So I'm looking forward to this fight, this is everything to me, this is the breaking the tie of consecutive title defenses with me and Muhammad Ali, my all-time great idol. I'm looking forward to setting history with that.
I never imagined just being able to do so many great things in the sport of boxing, and I'm doing them. I'm living witness that you can be from the middle of nowhere, you can come from a place where the system of boxing is not recognized and overcome and achieve greatness. And that's what I'm doing, I'm leading by example. And I just can't wait until February 22. Fury is going to get sent to the ground and this time around he definitely not getting up."
Q: Do you think that he's really going to try to come at you or do you think that's him just trying to talk a good game and sort of hype things up?
D. Wilder: "I really don't know what's their plans are or what he's going to do or wheat he's not going to do. I don't know what is true about what he's saying and what is not true. I know one thing, that I'm prepared for anything that he brings to the table. I'm overly prepared for whatever. So if you want to bring the fight, then come on, let's make it happen, that'll benefit me more than anything, him coming full at me. So I hope they stick with that game plan and follow it through and aren't just talking for hype. Actually do what you say you're going to do. I'm looking forward to it.
If he does that, it's going to make the fight that much more interesting and hype the fight up even more. So we'll see what happens. Deep down in his heart, I really feel that he's nervous. I really feel that he's very, very nervous from the first time of what happened. When you knock a person down and give him a concussion, you never forget that. You never forget who did it to you and how they did it. And when you crawl back in the ring with him a second time to relive that moment all over again, there has to be stress; You definitely can't sleep at night.
If anybody should be changing up anything you would think it would be me since he's saying he beat me by a wide margin. But that's even not the case. He knows what the truth was, and I'm looking forward to it. So I hope he's a man of his word because I'm every bit a man of my word and February 22 should be a sign for all of us.
The fans are in for a treat. They're the ones that are getting their money worth when it comes to this fight right here. They already know what me and Tyson are all about. We come in, we wear our hearts on our sleeves and we fight to the end and that's what we're going to do come February 22.
Q: Jay, do you feel like Otto Wallin may have softened Fury up a little bit?
J. Deas: "Well the thing about Fury is he always is going to perform better when people don't think he's going to do it, like he did with Wladimir Klitschko. He kind of tries to live for that moment where he's an underdog or where people doubt him. So he's probably never going to perform as well against a Wallin as he will in the bigger fight. So we're expecting to best Tyson Fury.
We expect he's going to come in the best he's ever been and that's what we want. We want there to be no questions whatsoever, so that at the end of the day, Deotay will get full credit for what he's going to do and nobody will think that Fury came in less than the best he could be, because he's put his time in, he's put his training camp in and he's done all the things he thinks will benefit him. That's what we're expecting, the best Tyson Fury so that there'll be no way to say anything other than Deontay Wilder is the man and no questions asked after it's over, that he beat the best Tyson Fury.
Q: Tyson Fury said last week that he was going to weigh around 270 pounds for the rematch. Just wondering what your thoughts on that are and do you believe that he's going to come in that high?
D. Wilder: "Anything that Fury is saying he's going to do, I really don't care at all. I'm just waiting on that date to come around. I'm just so ready. I don't care what he weighs in at, I just want him to be the best Fury that he could be. If that weight suits him and he's comfortable with it, then hey, come on with it whatever he's saying he want to do, come on with it. This is what it's all about.
I want him to be the best shape, I want him to be comfortable with his weight, I want him to be physically and mentally ready for the best fight of his life because he's definitely in for a great fight come February 22. I just don't want any excuses. I don't make excuses, and I am not planning on making any. I give my best when I go in there and I expect the same thing from him. I don't want excuses.
I don't want him to have the excuse that he should have been a little bit smaller or whatever. At this point in time he should know where he needs to be as far as weight-wise and everything else. So if he blows himself up, then that's him. But I'm looking for the best fight from Fury possible come February 22.
J. Deas: "I don't have anything to add. I think Deontay said it all perfectly. Same exact thing, it doesn't matter to me what weight he comes in at, Deontay's been outweighed probably in 38 fights or something like that in his career. So whatever Fury weighs, he weighs and we're not worried about - it's not about him, it's about Deontay.
Q: What did you make of Fury changing trainers and why do you think that he did that?
D. Wilder: "For me, I just think it's nervous energy to be honest, I really think it's nervous energy from the first fight. He can go on and say that he beat me in a wide margin, but he doesn't believe that. He honestly really doesn't believe that.
That's why he wants to change up a lot of things because if he did really, really believe that you wouldn't change up so much. He has changed up from where he trains at, to trainers to now he putting his hand in gasoline to try to make him harder. He brought so many people in his camp. Like there's just so much going on, there's too much to keep up with all the changes.
The next day he's going to go see a spiritual advisor, that's going to be the next thing he going to do to ease his mind. That's what's about to happen to him and his body come February 22. But all in all as a fighter we must do the things that we feel are going to give us confidence in the fight. I don't think he's confident that in the fight and when he's dealing with me because of the state of being that I left him in.
I gave this man a concussion. At the end of the day a concussion is a concussion. And easily that will happen again the second time around because the head is not meant to be hit especially by no power like Deontay Wilder's. He got a lot to think about come the 21st before the fight, I think he's going to be really thinking a lot that night and when the fight happens on the 22nd. uh-oh, he in trouble now.
So I can't wait. This is the moment in time for the heavyweight division. Its' fire is lit, it's on fire. And I'm planning on keeping it that way. As the Heavyweight Champion of the World I'm planning on keeping it exciting for everyone. It's back; the heavyweight division is back, baby.
Q: Jay, can you just also answer what you think of the change in trainers and how that might impact him?
J. Deas: "It's we saw that with Virgil Hunter and Dominic Breazeale, it's tough to get chemistry even if you've worked with somebody in the past, very tough to get chemistry quickly. It's just something that takes time. I think from what I've heard, I don't really know him, but I think his new trainer is a good trainer from what I've heard. Tyson, he knows how to box so he knows what he's doing in the ring so it depends what they're going to bring to the table together, we will see.
I hate it for Ben Davison because I think Ben really was instrumental in a lot more than just boxing for Tyson as a friend and a mentor and a brother and a confidante, a therapist and boxing coach, and everything else all mixed into one. I think he added a lot of value to Tyson personally and professionally. So I hate that for Ben, but at the same time Fury's got to do what he thinks is best for his career. But our team is solid. Our team is consistent and we've been that way for a long time, so I feel like that gives us an advantage.
Q: Are you allowing yourself to look any further ahead than this fight? Because obviously over here in Britain we've got a few fighters who might fancy themselves to be heavyweight champion but are you just fully focused on what's coming up now?
D. Wilder: "I'm fully focused on what's coming up now. I always say I never look past a fight but I do look through them. This fight means so much to me. At this point in time, this is about me and Fury all these other guys will still be here after this fight. I'll still be here after this fight. I'll still be the king after this fight. And then we can go from there. But at this moment in time it's truly about me and Fury. This is our time, this is our date. This is where we solve it all after we left you guys confused about what happened.
I can tell you what happened, he can tell you what happened, but it's two different versions. Now we have the opportunity to correct the wrongs into a right and people's minds all over the world and that's what I plan on doing just proving them clearly who won the first fight but also not only proving it to them but doing it in the same fashion but just in a more dramatic way.
Q: Deontay throughout this promotion Fury has said that he's going to go for the knockout. How can a more aggressive Fury leave himself vulnerable to being knocked out by you and possibly even earlier in the fight?
D. Wilder: "It's a strong possibility that can happen, especially him bringing the fight to me. As you can see, I brought the fight to him, nearly the whole fight the first time. And if he wants to do the reverse and bring it to me and bring all the force to me while I'm already applying force throwing at him, then it's going to be an interesting fight; it's going to be a short night, but it's going to be an interesting fight.
An interesting fight and short night, you can count me in, baby, but I don't get paid for overtime so he plans on running into my plans and I'm looking forward to seeing if he's going to follow through with his game plan. That's going to be exciting to see.
Q: Does that tell you that he will follow through?
D. Wilder: "My gut just tells me I'm ready to go. I'm in the best shape of my life. My gut tells me that I'm prepared more than anything and about to put on this show. My gut tells me I'm the Heavyweight Champion of the World and I can't be beat and I can't wait for this fight. That's what my gut's telling me.
As far as what he's saying and what he says he's going to do - what he's saying and what he's going to do, I think are going to be two different things. This makes this fight such an exciting fight, not only with our words but with our action and waiting to see what's going to happen. So if he does that, then may God be with him on that night of that fight, because God may have mercy, but I won't.
Q: Is there any part of you that would love to see Anthony Joshua try to make his way into the ring following this fight?
D. Wilder: "I'm not worried about that, he barely got his titles back, let alone talking about stepping in the ring with the king. So I know he's been out of the picture. Ain't nobody talking about him no more so it ain't on me to bring him up right here right now, February 22, Deontay Wilder versus Tyson Fury. Other than that, nobody else in the distance at this point in time.
Q: Knowing what you know about him and knowing what happened in the first fight, do you feel like your confidence level is maybe higher in terms of knocking him out or winning this fight compared to the first fight?
D. Wilder: "Yes, my confidence is very high not just because this is the second fight, and this is the second time I'm entering in the ring with him, we know each other a little bit more than we knew the first time. But because of my last two performances. I'm coming off of two dramatic knockouts, one in the first round and one in the second round so that's even more about a confidence builder.
Both guys, Dominic Breazeale he's a brave soul and no matter what his skill level is in there, he's coming to give his best, he's fought at this level before, he competed for the heavyweight title before and that was his second time around.
So I got him out of the first round. With Luis Ortiz, he took on a whole another level, as he may not be the boogeyman to me but, he's the boogeyman to the rest of the heavyweight division. That's for sure because nobody still to this day is calling his name, trying to fight him.
They want to call out all sorts of guys, and you try to make all the excuses in the world why to say you fight the best but not Ortiz, because he's old.
They make me sick in this sport and that's why I got to continue to keep it live. Coming into the ring with Tyson Fury the second time, knowing that I fought him before, my confidence is through the roof.
Q: What does this kind of event say about Deontay Wilder's growth as a star in the US?
S. Finkel: "I was lucky enough to be in the first big heavyweight fight with two networks and that was Tyson vs. Lewis with HBO and SHOWTIME. They were too big for one network to stop it and it's the same here. This is the largest, biggest, most anticipated heavyweight championship fight since Tyson vs. Lewis. And neither FOX nor ESPN were going to stand in the way.
They all wanted to be part of it and you see the promotion they're doing. There's never been anything like it. And the week of the fight it's even going to ramp up more. You've never seen a heavyweight championship be promoted on the Super Bowl.
Q: Deontay, you've been critical of Fury's power in the past, where does he rate on the full spectrum of opponents that you've faced as far as power goes?
D. Wilder: "That's a great question, probably a question that I can't put an appropriate answer to. Going back on that fight, reminiscing and going back in that fight, I can't tell you any rounds where I felt like I was threatened by his power. Like I said before, and many quoted me on it and you can continue, that he has pillow-esque fists, that's how soft they were in that fight.
Maybe my adrenaline was too high to even feel anything, even after the fight, sometimes after the fight you may feel a little sore or whatever, even after the fight I didn't feel anything. I took all his punches that he landed and I walked right through it.
I don't respect his power, he's just a tall big man that can move around a ring and that's about it. As far as power, there's none there and I don't think he'll be able to develop it. I don't care what trainer he brings in, you just don't develop that power in a couple of weeks, or in a month because you have this trainer that comes in.
At the end of the day I don't I don't see his trainer developing it. What fighter has he had that he developed to give them power? We've got to look into that as well. So, if he doesn't have no fighter that he developed and into a power puncher, then how is he going to do that for Tyson Fury in this short amount of time that he has? It's impossible. It's impossible. As a guy with dramatic power to the limit, I would know these things, I'm an expert at that.
So I'm just looking forward to the fight and I just can't wait to see what's going to happen on the night of the fight. Whether he believes that he's going to do what he's saying or not. That's the big question, that's why this fight is so exciting, because there's so many questions to be answered. I'm looking forward to answering everything come February 22.
Q: Looking back at your first performance against Tyson Fury, what grade would you have given yourself in that first fight?
D. Wilder: "In that first fight I was probably 50% or less coming into that fight. I didn't fight like I normally fight. There's a lot of things that I did that I don't normally do. Especially when I look back at that fight, me and Jay can pinpoint so much, like look man, I don't even do that. Why did I did that? Why did I do this? I know why I did it but I don't know why I did it.
It's just one of those things that you know why you did it because moving forward holding my guard high swinging swinging with no hope, just just doing certain things because in this fight I felt like I had the opportunity at that moment in time for me; that was the date for me, for the heavyweight division in America to be put on notice.
It meant a lot to me because when I was coming up, no one in America knew who the Heavyweight Champion of the World was, and it's very hard when you're in the division and you're trying to get notoriety and bring it up and bring up a sport that is not our top priority and you try to make it exciting so people get to talking about it again.
At this point in time as I sit here and talk to you guys, I can say a job well done as far as getting the attention back in America, the hype back in America. With this fight right here, I'll be ready to do the proper things that I need to be doing. I've lived that moment of excitement and I've lived that moment of having my first PPV, going on my third one.
Q: Jay, how much progress have you seen in Deontay's boxing skills as a pugilist mentally and physically?
J. Deas: "Well I'd say I'm glad you asked that question. Deontay does not get the credit that he deserves for the improvement, the skill level that he has and the ring IQ that he has. I don't think people totally get what they're seeing, and sometimes they don't understand the nuances of the sport. But we do what we call a six-month test, every six months we ask ourselves, would you right now beat you from six months ago?
And I can answer 100% honestly that since the beginning of the first day that he came in the gym, that answer has been yes. He beats him from six months ago. He keeps getting better and better and better and smarter and refined with the technique. See, the things that people don't really get is, and understand, the timing, the distance, the spacing, the positioning, all those things that allow you to land those big punches, that's skill, that's maybe the most important skill.
Now I know people like to look on the Internet and see a guy throwing on the mitts a 47-punch combination with three dips, four dips and five dips, but that's not reality, that's not against live resisting opposition. And what Deontay does is he puts himself in a position to land those shots. Now that's more skill than people really sometimes can even comprehend what he's doing.
So to answer your question, yes, I mean, his improvement just continues and continues. And the thing is, he wants to learn. He's the kind of guy that is still hungry to get better and better and I think that's probably the best compliment I could give any fighter. But Deontay is a whole different level guy.
Q: So Tyson makes a big thing about his boxing skills and boxing IQ. What do you make of that?
D. Wilder: "Right, well he has to have the confidence to think that he has some type of skill in this sport to survive in this sport, especially at the elite level. You have to have some kind of confidence to differentiate you from the rest. So he's only expressing what he feels. But at the end of the day we have a time, we have a place, and we have the date to witness each other's greatness as we share our energy in the ring.
That's a special moment on February 22 on FOX Sports PPV and ESPN+ PPV at MGM Grand. See who is all talk, and who's not.
D. Wilder: "To everyone that's on the call or had questions, thank you guys so much for the participation and the questions. Again to all my fans, thank you guys so much, especially to my day ones. Thank you for this love and the support. And here we are, February 22 it's going to be an amazing time in history for me and as well as you guys. You guys are the witnesses to witness greatness, to see what greatness looks like and if you come close to me, you'll see what it smells like. And I just can't wait.
You guys are in for a treat, you know what to expect in the second fight because you've seen the first fight. The fight sells itself, there's nothing more needed to be said. I'm just looking forward to the fight and I'll see you guys there."