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Deontay Wilder Teams Up with Matchroom for Zhang Bout

Deontay Wilder to Face Zhilei Zhang

Deontay Wilder has made a surprising move by joining Matchroom Boxing and is set to square off against Zhilei Zhang on June 1 in Saudi Arabia. The unexpected partnership was announced during a grand unveiling event by Matchroom and Queensberry Promotions in London.

The event showcased ten fighters, each wearing white masks, being revealed one by one. Among the lineup, heavyweight Daniel Dubois will take on Filip Hrgovic in a world-title final eliminator, and Liverpool featherweight Nick Ball will challenge WBA world champion Raymond Ford. Additionally, an exciting middleweight clash between Hamzah Sheeraz and Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams, and a cruiserweight showdown featuring Willy Hutchinson and Craig Richards, will round out the card.

The surprise appearance of Wilder, the final unmasked fighter, was met with roaring cheers as he shouted his trademark ‘Bomb Squad’, while Eddie Hearn, Matchroom’s promoter, celebrated beside him.

Wilder expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “This is the ultimate surprise. Nobody expected Eddie and me to collaborate.” Hearn echoed the sentiment, saying, “For one night only, we work together.”

The unexpected pairing between Hearn and Wilder is a testament to the influence of Saudi investment in the sport. Despite past disagreements, including backing different fighters for potential matchups that never materialized, the Saudi influence has bridged the gap.

Wilder, known for his devastating punching power, has faced a decline in form since his loss to Tyson Fury in February 2020. However, he remains optimistic about his upcoming fight, calling it his “last dance” and vowing to give it his all.

The Matchroom vs. Queensberry event will serve as the undercard for the much-anticipated light-heavyweight showdown between Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev. The rivalry between the two promotional giants dates back decades, making this event even more significant.

The winner of the Wilder-Zhang clash could potentially face Anthony Joshua for the vacant IBF title later this year, adding further intrigue to an already stacked card.

Credit: Yahoo Sport

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