Heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder apologised Sunday after unleashing a punch that knocked down the mascot on an ESPN programme.
Wilder, appearing on ESPN Nacion to promote his December title fight against Britain’s Tyson Fury, was asked to demonstrate his punching power by striking the mascot – a man inside a burrito-themed foam costume.
The blow knocked the sombrero-wearing mascot to the ground, although ESPN said reports the man inside the costume suffered a broken jaw were incorrect.
“I sincerely apologize to the brave man that was injured (if this is true),” Wilder wrote on Instagram. “I have the up [sic] most high respect for him, his participation, willingness and courage.
“If this is true @nacionespn I personally would like to invite him to my Dec.1 fight.”
Wilder also refuted reports that he didn’t realize there was a person inside the costume.
“Anything headlining I didn’t know a human being was in there is just straight click-baiting.”
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Yea, Anything headlining I didn’t know a “Human Being” was in there is just straight “Click Baiting” like come on now, I guess the Mascot rolled out there. show so respect! I sincerely apologize to the brave man that was injured (if this is true) I have the up most high respect for him, his participation, willingness and courage. If this is true @nacionespn I personally would like to invite him to my Dec.1 fight. Word Is Bond✊🏿 -CHAMP #BombZquad #PeoplesChamp
Wilder, the World Boxing Organization champion, is unbeaten in 40 bouts. He takes on former world champion Fury in Los Angeles on December 1.
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)