"I'm definitely looking forward to being the next heavyweight champion of the world," said undefeated prospect Deontay Wilder, who will face ex-beltholder Sergei Liakhovich on Aug. 9 at The Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Indio, Calif.
Deontay Wilder (left) against Kelvin Price in December 2012 (Photo: Harry How-Golden Boy Promotions/Getty)
RingTV.com spoke to unbeaten heavyweight knockout artist Deontay Wilder recently concerning his upcoming bout with ex-beltholder Sergei Liakhovich on Aug. 9. The bout will be televised on Showtime from The Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Indio, Calif.
The fight was nearly scheduled to take place in Wilder's home state of Alabama, something Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer has said he'd like to see happen in the future.
Wilder (28-0, 28 knockouts) is a 6-foot-7 2008 Olympic bronze medalist who is coming off a first-round knockout of 2000 Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison in April.
Liakhovich, 36, is 2-4 with two knockouts since rising from a seventh-round knockdown to defeat Lamon Brewster for the WBO belt in April of 2006.
Liakhovich has suffered consecutive ninth-round knockout losses to unbeaten contenders Robert Helenius and Bryant Jennings in August of 2011 and March of last year, respectively.
Wilder shared his thoughts on his fight with Harrison, his test against Liakhovich, and his future in this Q&A.
RingTV.com: Are you disappointed that your fight is not going to be in Alabama?
Deontay Wilder: I'm not disappointed at all. All things will happen in due time, so, that's the type of person that I am. I'm just planning on the fact that I'm going to have all that I want here in Alabama in the future.
So there's not disappointment at all. I'm just glad that things are finally moving along in the right direction, and I'm finally being able to fight again. I'm just happy for that.
RingTV.com: Your assessment of your first-round knockout of Audley Harrison?
DW: I was super confident going in there with Audley. I knew that it was going to be more of an entertaining show for me, because of what I knew that I was going to be able to do to him.
So, there are always things that you can improve on, as far as being in the ring, but I'll take nothing from myself in that fight.
I take everything, the good and the bad that I've done, I understood all of that, and I did them all for a reason. So it was fun, my fans enjoyed it, I enjoyed it, and it was a great win, and now, it's on to the next.
RingTV.com: Are you feeling any more pressure to rise to the top of the division from the generally public's outcry for an American heavyweight champion?
DW: It's no pressure for me at all, it's more excitement for me than anything. I think that being in the Olympics and having gone through the whole process of being an Olympian, and having the whole world look at me and being the only American to medal at those Olympics, having all of that attention, fighting in all of the different countries like we did, that definitely prepared me for the obstacles that I've faced at the professional level.
I've never been a guy to crack under pressure. That's never been me in anything that I do. I do even better under pressure, so, I'm just waiting for my opportunity.
I see all of these other guys doing their thing to become the next heavyweight champion of the world, and I wish them all of the best in their success, but I'm definitely looking forward to being the next heavyweight champion of the world.
I'll fight anybody that I have to fight to obtain that position. You know, friend or not friends. It's not personal. We're in a business where that can't apply. So, there's not pressure for me. I can only speak for myself. Not for anyone else. I can only speak for Deontay Wilder.
RingTV.com: Given that Sergei Liakhovich's last two losses were to unbeaten fighters Jennings and Helenius in the ninth round, is there any more emphasis for you to get him out of there earlier than they did?
DW: You know, well, a lot of people try to ask the same thing about whether there is any concern on me about getting Audley Harrison out of there sooner than David Price did.
David Price got him out of there in the first round, but I'm the type of guy who is going to do my thing my way and I'm not worried, in no big hurry, or concerned to get Liakhovich out of there earlier or faster than the other guys have done.
I'm just trying to get him out of there. If I get him out earlier, then, hey, I did it. If I don't, then even though that may look good for the fans and give people a little bit more to talk about, and it may look good, I can't worry about that.
Of course, I'm going in there to knock him out, and I'm going in there to keep my streak going and basically that's it.
Photo: Harry How - Golden Boy Promotions/Getty
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org