Wilder, 36, returns for the first time since his back-to-back knockout defeats to Tyson Fury when he faces former sparring partner Helenius on October 15. 'The Bronze Bomber' considered hanging up his gloves after losing twice to Fury, but announced his return by insisting the heavyweight division needs an American champion to thrive again.
Helenius has sparred plenty of rounds with Wilder as he helped him prepare for his trilogy fights with Fury. Wilder is looking to pick up his first win in almost three years, having not had his hand raised since knocking out Luis Ortiz in their 2019 rematch. Wilder's manager Shelly Finkel said if Joshua fights Fury next, they will consider unified champion Usyk as a potential opponent.
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"The other day we got a message that Usyk will fight us if Joshua goes the route of Fury, yeah, we’re open to that, we’re not opposed to that at all," he told talkSPORT. "If not, there’s Andy Ruiz Jr, there’s several other options. In my mind, until the Fury [vs Joshua] thing came, I was thinking that after the fight with Helenius we would be talking, Eddie and I, but things happen.”
Finkel admitted he intentionally avoided an offer from Matchroom Boxing boss for Wilder to fight Joshua to allow the American to concentrate on his upcoming fight. Hearn said he was confused as Finkel never replied to his offer, but the manager is confident that when the time comes to make a deal for the fight, it will be made.
"It’s come out a few times by Eddie Hearn that I avoided him,” he added. "That’s partially true, well it’s wholly true. We have a fight coming up with Robert Helenius. Eddie emailed me, ‘Can we talk? I have some big [offer] for Deontay. Right now we have the Helenius fight, that’s all we need to concentrate on. Because if something went wrong there, nothing else would be. And if it goes right, it’ll all get worked out.
"I don’t always agree with him [Hearn]. We’re on opposite sides, he has a fighter who will hopefully be an opponent for one of my guys, in this case Deontay, and it’s nothing of the sort. He's not been around as long as he thinks he has, but he’s done some really exciting, good things, so I give him credit for that. When it comes time to make a deal, it’ll get done, or not.”