Wilder still open to Joshua, Ruiz bouts: I want to fight 'all of the best'

Deontay Wilder is "open to everything" as he plans to prove his status as the top man in an "exciting" heavyweight boxing division.

Heavyweight star Deontay Wilder   -  Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Deontay Wilder intends to keep the heavyweight division exciting by taking on "all of the best" - including Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr.

A fight between Wilder and British fighter Joshua has long been mooted, but negotiations failed and the American instead faced Tyson Fury last year, defending his WBC belt in a controversial draw.

Joshua subsequently fought Ruiz and was stunned for the first defeat of his career, losing his WBA, IBF and WBO titles in his United States debut.

 

However, Wilder insists that loss would not put him off facing Joshua in future, while Ruiz is also a possible opponent as the 'Bronze Bomber' says he is "open to everything".

"The belts are switching up to different faces and different hands," he told talkSPORT.

"People ask, 'Are you still going to fight AJ?'. Just because someone loses doesn't mean it's the end of the road. That's how you become a two-time, three-time, four-time champion.

"The heavyweight division is so small - there's enough room for everybody to get in with everybody.

"Before I retire, I want to be able to say I fought the best, all of the best, no matter who they were, if they had a buzz and people wanted to see that fight.

"In boxing, anything is possible. With Andy, we're on the same team. It would be a hell of a lot easier for me and him to make that fight happen, no problems, no questions asked.

"It's very interesting now with which avenue [to go down]. In boxing, it can be set to go down one direction and in a split moment it can go down another.

"I'm open to any and everything - I'm the best in the world and I'm willing to prove that each and every time. This is a well lit division, it's so exciting, and I want to do my part as a champion to make sure it stays that way."

Read | 'He wasn't a true champion' - Deontay Wilder slams Joshua

'Joshua quit'

Wilder suggests the pressure of a packed division got to Joshua as he struggled against Ruiz, claiming the Briton "quit" as he was defeated.

"I wasn't amazed at all," he said. "I knew Andy Ruiz, I knew that he had some good boxing skills. In my eyes, he's still undefeated because I felt that he beat [Joseph] Parker [who beat Ruiz in December 2016].

"I knew that Joshua would be up for a test - not just because of Ruiz but because he was changing scenery. He'd never been over here before in his professional career to defend his title with a lot of other things that were going on.

"With everything that's going on in the heavyweight division, it's so exciting and I can see how pressure could be added to this. Everybody trying to see who is the number one. And everybody wants to be number one.

"I think Ruiz beat him too easily. I don't think Joshua knows how he lost right now.

"In my opinion, Joshua quit. As a fighter looking in, reading the body language, he quit. I'm sad to say he quit. I don't think he's a quitter but he quit that night."

Joshua's own post-fight explanation of his defeat was simply that his "performance didn't go to plan" as he insisted he could still walk "with my head held high like a champion".