Deontay Wilder has called for an immediate rematch with Tyson Fury, dismissing claims from his British rival he would attempt to avoid a return bout after their epic heavyweight duel in Los Angeles.
The American retained his World Boxing Council heavyweight crown on Saturday after a thrilling 12-round battle ended in a split decision draw at the Staples Center.
Fury, who many observers believe did enough to win despite being knocked down twice during the fight, said on Monday he feared Wilder would seek to duck a rematch “at all costs.”
However the 33-year-old Wilder on Tuesday rejected that claim in the strongest possible terms, saying a rematch with Fury was his priority rather than a unification bout with WBA, IBF and WBO champion Anthony Joshua.
“I’m ready to do it again,” Wilder told reporters on a conference call.
“My main goal is Tyson Fury. I’m looking forward to giving him the rematch as soon as possible.
“This is the biggest fight still in the heavyweight division, this is the most exciting fight in the heavyweight division and we’re ready to give the fans what they want to see.”
Wilder snatched a draw on Saturday after Fury somehow recovered from a devastating 12th round knockdown by the American champion to finish the fight on his feet.
Wilder said Tuesday he would make no mistake in any possible rematch.
“He woke up from hell — I want to put him back there,” Wilder said.
Fury, who only returned to boxing this year after nearly three years out of the ring as he struggled with depression, drink and drug problems, had said Monday he doubted Wilder would grant him a return.
“I’ve got a funny feeling he’s going to get his running shoes out and stay away from me at all costs,” Fury said.
However Wilder said a rematch was all but inescapable.
“Both sides definitely want (a rematch) to happen. I don’t see why we wouldn’t. It’s a great fight and the build-up has already started. We can’t get away from this fight.
“It’s only right for us to go back in and do it again. I don’t want no other fights to happen between him or I before then. I want to give Tyson Fury the rematch ASAP.”
Wilder, who on Saturday had spoken enthusiastically about a possible unification fight with Joshua, meanwhile poured cold water on the idea on Tuesday.
Asked where he now saw Joshua’s place in the heavyweight pecking order, Wilder replied: “I haven’t even thought about Joshua. They’re getting what they deserve.”
Negotiations over a possible Wilder-Joshua showdown stalled earlier this year.
Wilder’s camp maintain they offered $50 million to Joshua to accept a fight, a gambit dismissed by the British boxer’s manager Eddie Hearn as a “wonderful PR move.”
“They felt like they was the only people in boxing or the heavyweight division that people cared about,” Wilder said of the Joshua camp. “We don’t care about him no more.
“They had their opportunity. They had four months to have their opportunity. But they led people on. Their ego got the best of them.
“So let them continue to fight the second tier fighters.”
Wilder also dismissed criticism of the scoring of Saturday’s fight, adamant that Fury had not done enough to win.
“He was landing some punches but most of them was pitty-patter, they didn’t affect me,” Wilder said.
“When you coming in here fighting the champion, you’ve got to be dominant. You’ve got to take the title, and I don’t think Fury took the title. I felt like I won that fight, totally.”
© Agence France-Presse (Additional edits by Marisa Kennedy)