Deontay Wilder still believes a fight between him and Anthony Joshua is possible despite his recent defeat against Joseph Parker last December.

The former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) fights Zhilei Zhang on June 1st in the 5v5 event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Deontay has got to win against Zhang, or else. Wilder’s recent record is an appalling 1-3, and his only win was against his old sparring partner Robert Helenius.  Joshua has resurrected his career with four consecutive wins and is arguably now the best fighter in the division today, thanks to his trainer Ben Davison’s help.

Joshua Fight Derailed, But Still Possible

Deontay was in a position to fight Joshua, but the Bronze Bomber’s loss to Parker foiled those plans. Wilder still believes the long-awaited mega-clash against Joshua can happen, saying to BBC Sport:

“People are always going to want to see that fight no matter what. I put it in the high 90s [percentage chance of happening].

It’s still way too early for Wilder to hope for a fight against Joshua. The big southpaw Zhang is a serious threat to Wilder, and many boxing fans believe he’ll finish Deontay, sending him into retirement.

Wilder will need to fight much more aggressively from the opening round against Zhang than he did in his fight with Parker to avoid getting starched. Against Parker, Wilder was overly cautious, afraid to throw his right-hand bombs for fear of being countered.

Zhang is an excellent counterpuncher early in his fights, and he could stop Wilder in the first two rounds if he connects with any of his powerful shots. It wouldn’t be a good idea for Wilder to box Zhang like he was trying to do against Parker because he’s not technically skilled enough to beat the two-time Chinese Olympian in that department.

A Win Can Revive the Blockbuster

“It only takes that one fight, that one night,” says Wilder about him getting the lucrative Joshua match. “Deontay Wilder knocks [Zhang’s] head off, and the world goes crazy. Wilder versus Joshua. They want it [again].”

It’s true that if Wilder knocks out Zhang, there will be renewed fan interest in a Joshua-Wilder fight. However, I don’t see this as realistic. The 38-year-old Wilder looked washed against Parker, a classic example of an older fighter unable to pull the trigger. Wilder’s reflexes were off, and he looked like he was still haunted by his two knockout losses to Tyson Fury.

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