Deontay Wilder WAS injured in the countdown to his rematch defeat by Tyson Fury in February according to up-and-coming New Zealand heavyweight prospect Junior Fa.
Fa (19-0) was one of Wilder’s sparring partners when ‘The Bronze Bomber’ (42-1-1) prepared for his showdown with Fury at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
After he suffered his first professional career defeat at the hands of ‘The Gypsy King’ – a humiliating seventh-round TKO following a one-sided beatdown, several excuses were given. Everything from the weight of his extravagant ring walk costume to a bicep injury which reportedly required surgery after the bout.
Fa, speaking to Sky Sports, has confirmed that Wilder did suffer an injury to his bicep during camp.
He revealed: “I was very shocked [by the Wilder defeat]. The lead-up and the training was actually really good. Deontay was looking great.
“I think he did hurt himself towards the end of camp, which I don’t think would have played too much into the fight, but then I don’t really know the extent of the damage of the injury that he sustained.
“What I do know that he did get injured, but I was very surprised by Fury’s game plan. As soon as the fight started, and I saw Fury not really taking a backward step, trying to push Wilder to the ropes, I was thinking ‘Oh man, this is going to be a hard night for Wilder.’
“Fury just basically did what he said he was going to do, which was stop the biggest puncher in the world. That was a very, very good performance from him.”
Fa was asked to confirm that injury Wilder had suffered, and responded: “Yes, the bicep injury. I don’t know the extent of the damage, but he did hurt it, yeah.”
Fury and Wilder are contracted to meet in a trilogy match later this year, with Saturday December 19 the current planned date. But the carnage still being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic means Fury’s co-promoter Bob Arum has already mooted the possibility that the bout may have to be delayed to February 2021 and staged outside the United States.
Wilder has been strangely silent in recent months since that defeat by Fury, leading some boxing figures – notably Matchroom supremo Eddie Hearn – to question whether he will actually go through with the fight.
Deontay’s manager Shelley Finkel has repeatedly rubbished that speculation though, saying the fight will definitely happen.