Deontay Wilder is excited about facing another knockout artist similar to himself in Zhilei Zhang on Saturday because it’s going to be the type of fight that he enjoys.

Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) is at his best when facing punchers, but he struggles with boxers, as we witnessed in his losses to Joseph Parker and Tyson Fury.

This Saturday night, June 1st, the Matchroom Team captain Wilder faces Zhang (26-2-1, 21 KOs) in a twelve-round heavyweight clash live on DAZN PPV at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Wilder, 38, views this fight as a “do-or-die” fight for him and Zhang, 40.

Despite being a little bit older, Zhang is the one considered to have more left in the tank, but only because he’s not let his losses make him gunshy the way Wilder’s three defeats have. Wilder still has his hand speed and punching power intact. It’s more of a mental thing with him.

He’s afraid to get countered and knocked out again, so he has the confidence to let his shots go the way he did before he ran into trouble with his career.

“A Match Made in Heaven”

“I like his style. I like his alias name, ‘Big Bang’ Zhang, and I like that he has Chinese power and I have Alabama power,” said Deontay Wilder to Title Sports Network, talking about his opponent, Zhilei Zhang, ahead of their bout this Saturday night.

“It’s a match made in heaven, and I’m looking forward to competing against him, but his power doesn’t match mine. I’m proven. I am the hardest puncher in boxing history, and he has a lot to prove himself. I’m looking forward to fighting him and seeing the outcome.”

The southpaw Zhang punches almost as well as Wilder, but what makes him a better puncher is he’s dangerous with both hands. Zhang’s right hook is just as lethal as his left, as we saw in his knockout of Joe Joyce in their second fight.

If Zhang connects on Wilder’s chin with either hand on Saturday, the chances are high that he’ll knock him out.

“I have a strong belief in myself. I feel the savagery, and I am back, but Saturday night will prove all that,” said Wilder.

A Do-or-Die Fight

Everyone who watches is going to be a witness of that, and I feel like this is going to be a do-or-die fight for both of us,” said Wilder about him and Zhang in a must-win situation.

If Wilder loses this fight, his record would be 1-4 in his last five fights, which is too many losses for him to continue making the money he’s been accustomed to getting. Deontay will still be in demand as an opponent for younger fighters like Jared Anderson, but he won’t get the money he enjoyed when his career was still firing on all cylinders.

“The stakes are high, and I love having fights like this where I feel like pressure is on the line,” said Wilder. “I’ve been very successful in boxing. I’ve been very successful outside of boxing, but my success doesn’t hold me back.

“At one point in time, I found so much peace. I still have that peace, but now I’m with the Saudis, and they said, ‘No more Mr. Nice Guy, and I love that. They want to see the savage of me. They want to see the killer instinct,” said Wilder.

I don’t know that Deontay really believes what he’s saying about why he was losing lately. It has nothing to do with him playing nice with his opponents and more with him not having the chin, stamina, courage, or ring IQ to win, Wilder’s loss to Joseph Parker because he looked afraid to throw punches. Against Fury, he ran out of gas in the third fight, and was out-punched in the second.

“They want to see the Bronze Bomber, and there’s no greater feeling to work with people that want me to be me. Most definitely. It’s made for a knockout either way. As I always say, ‘Don’t blink,’” said Wilder.

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