Eddie Hearn revealed today what went into his signing Deontay Wilder as the captain of his Matchroom team for the June 1st 5v5 event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The promoter Hearn was given the green light by His Excellency Turki Alalshikh to sign one fighter to name as his captain, and he chose the former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (43-3-1, 32 KOs), even though he was coming off a loss.

Wilder will be in the captain’s seat for the Matchroom Boxing squad in a fight against the dangerous Zhilei Zhang in a 12-round fight. Hearn is confident that Wilder will regain his old form and emerge victorious by knocking out Zhang (26-2-1, 21 KOs).

The Art of the Deal

“I said, ‘Can I go and sign someone?’ And he said, ‘Yes, you can go and work with anyone you want for one night,’” said promoter Eddie Hearn to Charlie Parson’s YouTube channel about his conversation with His Excellency Turki Alalshikh about what went on behind him signing Deontay Wilder and making him captain of his Matchroom team for the 5v5 event on June 1st.

Hearn acknowledges that he will need to rebuild Wilder’s confidence, considering it’s likely at an all-time low after the timid, gunshy performance he turned in against Joseph Parker in his one-sided twelve-round unanimous decision loss last December.

I don’t know if Hearn can rebuild Wilder’s shattered self-confidence that quickly without a lot of coaching. Wilder looked afraid against Parker and unwilling to take any risks in that fight.

Perfect Timing? Or Perfect Strategy?

“I said, ‘Let’s give Deontay a little work.’ The best time,” said Hearn when asked about the timing not being good to sign Deontay with him coming off a loss to Joseph Parker last December. “I got to pump him up. I got to believe in him. I’ve got to tell him how great he is, and get some fire in his belly.”

If Hearn can boost Wilder’s morale and make him understand that he’s the captain, he’ll be more willing to take the ultimate risk and blitz Zhang as he would on the battlefield.

Reviving the ‘Bronze Bomber’

“You’re the captain. You are the boss of this ship. Let’s go and represent the team and smash this block to pieces, and he will stop Zhilei Zhang inside five rounds. That’s one of the reasons why I gave him the captain seat. I spoke to him and looked in his eyes, and he’s for real. He wants to do damage on June 1st, and he’s fighting for his career on June 1st,” said Hearn.

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