What reasonable options exist for the Bronze Bomber?
Just a few days removed from the discovery that Luis Ortiz was caught using banned substances in his VADA tests, Deontay Wilder is left with the short end of the stick yet again. A look at the BoxRec top 20 heavyweights shows us what options Wilder has to make his fight. Approximately one month away, chances are very likely he’ll have to shift the date to give his opponent an appropriate training camp.
The top two names available for Wilder are Povetkin and Ortiz. Povetkin was caught before his fight with Wilder with Meldonium, then caught again before an eliminator fight with Stiverne. Ortiz, well…you know how that story is going and it’s pretty fishy.
So that leaves us with Charles Martin, Christian Hammer, and Adam Kownacki still in the top 10 and having fought July, May, and July respectively. Martin was stopped within 2 by Anthony Joshua. Hammer’s most recent defeat (of 4) was a Referee Technical Decision against Tyson Fury. Kownacki, although undefeated, only has Artur Szpilka to his credit (who was brutally KO’d by Wilder).
Lucas Browne fought in June and could be available, but has two failed drug tests, one as recently as November of last year. Considering the issues Wilder has had with past opponents, I doubt he’ll want to pick up another [double] VADA failure as a replacement if he wants a clean fighter in the ring with him.
Andy Ruiz was last seen December of 2016 losing on the cards to Joseph Parker, while Carlos Takam (another Parker opponent) fought in June of this year and could reasonably be prepared for fight by end of this year. I personally don’t rate Parker above Wilder after his performance against Hughie Fury, so if these two couldn’t get past Parker there is little doubt they could best Wilder.
That leaves us with one unmentioned name: Dillian Whyte. Whyte most recently fought in August against Malcolm Tann, but can be best recalled for his December tables match with Dereck Chisora. Nothing in the Chisora fight lends credence to him being a top-tier opponent, but given Eddie Hearn’s attempt to break into the US market, this could be a good chance for him to slide into Wilder’s DMs and get himself another title shot.