Promoter Eddie Hearn says he placed ‘The Bronze Bomber’ Deontay Wilder in the captain seat give him a psychological edge to give him responsibility as a leader for the Matchroom team for Saturday’s ‘5 vs. 5’ event in Saudi Arabia.

The hope is that the pressure that Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) has on him will amp him up to defeat Zhilei Zhang by knockout and bring in valuable points to give Matchroom the victory in their competition with Queensberry at the Kingdom Arena.

Hearn wants Wilder to perform at his best for this fight because it’s an important competition. He’s also interested in potentially scheduling a fight between him and Anthony Joshua if he knocks out Zhang.

It’s not just up to Wilder’s performance. Joshua wants to fight for the IBF world title, and that belt is available before the Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk rematch; AJ will likely fight the Filip Hrgovic vs. Daniel Dubois winner of their clash this Saturday.

A Wilder Resurgence and Joshua Mega-Fight

“It’s a little bit psychological for his benefit, but he’s the main man. He’s a serious dude, and I think he’s a great skipper,” said promoter Eddie Hearn to Boxing News on why he chose Deontay Wilder as his team captain for the Matchroom squad for the ‘5 vs. 5’ card.

If Wilder responds by being made the team captain, he could turn in a vintage performance by knocking out Zhang (26-2-1, 21 KOs). Deontay has an opponent who will be hittable.

So there shouldn’t be any issues for him in finding the mark, as there were against the highly defensive Joseph Parker and Tyson Fury, who used a lot of head movement and feints to make Wilder miss.

“We know if Wilder looks spectacular, the world is going to be calling for that fight. It’s a fight that definitely appeals to Anthony Joshua. It’ll be down to His Excellency. I know if Wilder looks sensational, the thought of Wilder-Joshua at Wembley is pretty big,” said Hearn.

If Wilder looks great on Saturday, the boxing public would prefer to see Joshua fight him rather than the Hrgovic-Dubois winner. Those two aren’t well known, and there’s not going to be a lot of interest from U.S fans in seeing Joshua fight the winner.

“The focus is to win a world heavyweight championship, but Saturday will tell us everything we need to know,” said Hearn.

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