Deontay Wilder’s manager provides update on Bronze Bomber amid retirement talk after Zhilei Zhang defeat
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Deontay Wilder’s manager provides update on Bronze Bomber amid retirement talk after Zhilei Zhang defeat

Jun 3, 2024

Deontay Wilder’s manager, Shelly Finkel, says his client is still deciding on whether to hang up his gloves.

‘The Bronze Bomber’ looked like a shell of his former self on Saturday night as he was knocked out by Zhilei Zhang on the unprecedented Queensberry vs Matchroom card in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Wilder's career hangs in the balance after being knocked out by Zhang on Saturday

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Wilder’s career hangs in the balance after being knocked out by Zhang on SaturdayCredit: Getty

Wilder spent the majority of the fight with his back against the ropes and appeared hesitant to let his hands go until the ill-fated fifth round where he was stunned and then knocked unconscious by two lead hooks.

Heading into the fight, Wilder had suggested that defeat could mark the end of his career.

But right now, the former WBC heavyweight champion is still processing the weekend’s events.

“He is fine, he is sleeping now,” Finkel said of Wilder to talkSPORT’s Jim White. “He was very emotional last night obviously. We didn’t expect it to go the way it did.

“I have nothing but praise for the way Zhang fought, he was the better man.

“It is Deontay’s decision whether this is his last fight or not.

“I love the guy, I’ve been with him for 15 years and I don’t want him to get hurt.

“It is totally his decision, I will let him know how I feel but it is his decision and I support him whatever he does.”

Finkel insists the decision on whether to retire is in Wilder's hands

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Finkel insists the decision on whether to retire is in Wilder’s handsCredit: GETTY

Asked if the Wilder of old is gone, Finkel replied: “Probably but Zhang also had something to do with it, he was very good, a very big man.

“You can’t just pitty pat you have to hurt them to stop them and it didn’t work last night.”

The overwhelming feeling among members of the boxing fraternity right now is that Wilder should call it a day.

Heavyweight star Deontay Wilder makes retirement pledge ahead of his showdown with Zhilei Zhang in Saudi Arabia

Timid displays against Joseph Parker and Zhang in his last two fights prove the American is no longer the destructive force he once was.

Defeat to Zhang marked his fourth loss in five fights while the punishment from his three grueling contests with Tyson Fury appears to have taken its toll.

“I’ve had a successful career and this is a do-or-die moment for me,” Wilder told Seconds Out on Tuesday.

“I don’t think the heavyweight division is exciting without Deontay Wilder in it but come Saturday night we will see.

“Will I prevail? Will I succeed? Who knows? But Saturday night is the true answer and we are going to see.

“This could be the end of the career, this could be the final farewell of Deontay Wilder if I lose.

“If I win, of course, I go on to bigger and better things.”

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