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02nd Jun 2024

Zhilei Zhang may have just ended Wilder’s career with brutal KO

Ryan Price

The Chinese fighter put Wilder on the canvas in the fifth round.

Fight fans are speculating that former world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s career could be over after he suffered a brutal defeat to Zhilei Zhang during last night’s Queensberry vs Matchroom event in Saudi Arabia.

38-year-old Wilder was the headliner from Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom team, up against Zhang who led Frank Warren’s Queensberry outfit.

The 41-year-old from Zhoukou, China, had Wilder spinning with a right hook halfway through the fifth round.

As Wilder stumbled around the ring, he appeared to make a complaint to the referee about his opponent.

However Zhang, who was judged to have done nothing wrong, leapt in and caught an off-guard ‘Bronze Bomber’ with another brutal right hook. 

Wilder barely beat the referee’s count, but the fight was waved off as Wilder staggered around and struggled to regain his composure.

It was a dominant night for the Queensberry camp at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh. Earlier on in the evening, British boxer Daniel Dubois beat Filip Hrgović by eighth-round TKO in what was a career-best performance.

It was Hrgović’s first defeat of his 18-fight professional career.

Wilder looked disillusioned after his five-round failure, and the night could possibly be a career-ending one for the Alabama-born boxer, who has now won just one of his last five fights, dating back to 2020.

After losing to Joseph Parker in December, he had previously insisted he would retire if he was also beaten by Zhang and the sight of Wilder crumpled on the floor could be the last memory of him inside the ring for boxing fans.

Viewers took to Twitter to share their views on the fight, and Wilder’s situation.

One person had some supportive words to share. @TrenchBabyMiles wrote: “If this is it for Deontay Wilder, he will go down as one of the most lethal knockout artists of all time. No shame in his career.”

Another commented: “Sad end for Deontay Wilder, who will likely retire now after a KO defeat to Zhang.

“Such a shame we never got to see him vs AJ when both were undefeated. Was never the most skilled boxer, but 42 KOs & scary power in his prime.”

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