Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 30 May 2020

Deontay Wilder blames 'heavy' $40,000 pre-fight costume for defeat to Tyson Fury

'He didn’t hurt me at all, but the simple fact is ... that my uniform was way too heavy for me'

Deontay Wilder plans to activate his rematch clause for a third fight with Tyson Fury, US media reported, and said the reason for his defeat to the Briton at the weekend was partly down to his ring-walk attire.

Wilder was on the receiving end of a punishing defeat to Fury in Las Vegas on Saturday before his corner threw in the towel in Round 7 to surrender his WBC heavyweight belt in his 10th title defence.

Yahoo Sports reported Wilder would seek a rematch - and that he says a miscalculation with his ring-walk costume proved costly in the first defeat of his career.

Wilder wore a $40,000 (Dh146,900) embossed armor-like costume as he made his way to the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night.

The look covered Wilder's face and featured striking rhinestones along his jaw line and brow, with LED lights creating a red glow around his eyes. Above the mesh-like face mask was a black crown and Wilder also wore a long black cape, a chest plate and skulls as shoulder pads. Red lights also ran down his arms and lit up his shoulders and chest.

Wilder told Yahoo Sports the outfit weighed around 40 pounds (18kg), and by the time he had made his way to the ring his legs were compromised.

The 'Bronze Bomber' suffered a heavy knockdown in the third courtesy of a Fury right-hand to his left ear and again later in the round although that was ruled a slip. He never looked steady on his feet from that moment and was unable to launch the ferocious right hands that had accounted for 41 of his previous 43 opponents.

Fury knocked him down with a left hook to the body in the fifth and it was a relief to onlookers when Wilder's corner eventually saved him from more punishment.

"He didn’t hurt me at all, but the simple fact is ... that my uniform was way too heavy for me," said Wilder. "I didn't have no legs from the beginning of the fight.

"In the third round, my legs were just shot all the way through. But I'm a warrior and people know that I'm a warrior.

"A lot of people were telling me, 'It looked like something was wrong with you.' Something was, but when you're in the ring, you have to bluff a lot of things," added Wilder, who had said in his immediate post-fight comments that his legs were weak coming in "due to other things."

“I was only able to put it on [for the first time] the night before, but I didn’t think it was going to be that heavy," he added. "It weighed 40, 40-some pounds with the helmet and all the batteries. I wanted my tribute to be great for Black History Month. I wanted it to be good and I guess I put that before anything.”

Fury was landing blows almost at will when referee Kenny Bayless called a halt at the behest of a battered Wilder's corner.

It was assistant trainer Mark Breland who threw in the towel, and Wilder suggested to Yahoo that Breland will no longer be part of his team on fight nights.

Wilder missed the post-fight press conference after being taken to hospital. He required seven stitches to a cut in his left ear.

“I am upset with Mark for the simple fact that we’ve talked about this many times and it’s not emotional,” Wilder said. “It is not an emotional thing, it’s a principal thing. We’ve talked about this situation many, many years before this even happened. I said as a warrior, as a champion, as a leader, as a ruler, I want to go out on my shield. If I’m talking about going in and killing a man, I respect the same way. I abide by the same principal of receiving."

Wilder and Fury had fought to a dramatic split-decision draw in December 2018, when Fury climbed off the canvas in the 12th round to share the spoils.

While a chance to seal a trilogy to rival that of Sugar Ray Leonard-Roberto Duran and Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier is a tantalizing prospect, Fury will surely be tempted by an all-British heavyweight unification bout with Anthony Joshua, who holds the WBA, IBF and WBO titles.

Updated: February 25, 2020 12:35 PM

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