Deontay Wilder has vowed to deliver "a devastating knockout" against Tyson Fury that would see him surpass the record he shares with his idol Muhammad Ali. Going into Saturday's bout with Fury in Las Vegas, the American has defended his WBC heavyweight title on 10 occasions since winning it against Bermane Stiverne more than five years ago.
That puts Wilder level with his inspiration, Ali, who made 10 consecutive defences of the same belt, as well as the WBA crown, before losing the titles to Leon Spinks in 1978. Wilder insists he will convincingly handle Fury – with whom he shared a dramatic draw in December 2018 – to claim the outright record, and then promised to make the run even more spectacular.
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"It will be an amazing feeling, my 11th consecutive defence," Wilder said to BBC 5 Live Boxing. "It was a basic plan for me to get into boxing, become a journeyman and make a few dollars for my daughter."
"I never thought about being heavyweight champion of the world and being tied with my idol Ali. Once I've beaten Fury with a devastating knockout, I will go on even further to break the record and do more amazing things."
Despite his five-year reign and a stellar record of 42 wins, one draw and zero defeats with 41 knockouts, the 34-year-old feels it is only with this Fury rematch that he has finally achieved superstar recognition.
Wilder added: "It's been tough being here in America when your sport is not top of the podium. One of my guys described this as like a Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao fight because of all the calls coming in for tickets."
"It made me feel good – but I have to keep my head, stay focused and deliver on Saturday. This is what I have always wanted and my moment in time has come. It took a long time. I can smile and say I will not disappoint come Saturday night."