Deontay Wilder’s excuse that his ring walk attire drained the energy from his legs ahead of his defeat by Tyson Fury has been ridiculed after footage of the American claiming to train wearing “a 45-pound vest” resurfaced.
The 34-year-old claimed in the aftermath of Sunday’s defeat that the 40lbs-45lbs costume that he wore in tribute to Black History Month left him with little energy in his legs, which he believes played a big role in Fury’s seventh-round stoppage victory.
“He didn’t hurt me at all, but the simple fact is my uniform was way too heavy for me,” Wilder told Yahoo Sports on Sunday night. “I didn’t have no legs from the beginning of the fight. In the third round, my legs were just shot all the way through.
“I was only able to put it on (for the first time) the night before but I didn’t think it was going to be that heavy. It weighed 40, 40-some pounds with the helmet and all the batteries.
“I wanted my tribute to be great for Black History Month. I wanted it to be good and I guess I put that before anything.”
But while fans laughed off Wilder’s comments – as well as Fury’s camp through promoter Frank Warren – a video of the dethroned WBC heavyweight champion speaking on the Joe Rogan Podcast in 2018 re-emerged on social media, with many using it to mock Wilder’s claims.
In the video, Wilder says that he does all of his training wearing a weighted vest of similar mass to what his costume on Sunday night weighed, leading to scrutiny over how much of an impact the outfit had on him.
“We want to activate the fast-twitch muscles. We do everything with rapid speed. If I’m doing anything that consist of me moving my feet is sprinting, I wear a 45-pound vest on me during all my exercises and everything I do to have that extra weight on me.”
The video was picked up by Wilder’s long-term rival Dillian Whyte, who has criticised the American previously for not giving him his mandatory shot at the WBC title.
“There you go @braonzebomber no surprise you lying coward #excuses #fraud,” wrote the British heavyweight, who is due to face the WBC champion before the end of January 2021 depending on who emerges from a planned rematch between Fury and Wilder with the belt.
Another high profile critic of Wilder’s was Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, who said: “Have you ever heard something so ridiculous in all your life? Firstly, I’m sure it was heavy but the walk is something like 100 yards.
“It’s the biggest fight of your career, and you’re saying the reason you didn’t win the career-defining fight is because of an outfit?”
Wilder is ready to stick with the same outfit designers for his future fights though, having spoken to them in the wake on his controversial comments. The £31,000 costume was made by Donato Cowley in collaboration with Cosmo Lombino, who confirmed that Wilder will not look for a new designer for his next bout.
“Deontay Wilder called me at home last night,” Cowley told The Sun. “We had an extensive honest conversation that put confusion and rumours to rest, reiterating that he considers us family.”