… with Joshua, Fury, Usyk still in his sights

Deontay Wilder sets sights on an explosive knockout victory over Zhilei Zhang as he anticipates the statement performance he believes would propel him back into world heavyweight title contention.

Wilder also believes he will fight Tyson Fury for a fourth time in his career, while trainer Malik Scott suggests a fight with Anthony Joshua is still on the table.

The former WBC heavyweight champion is seeking to climb back up the heavyweight pecking order after enduring a setback defeat at the hands of an inspired Joseph Parker in Saudi Arabia in December.

His loss to Parker seemingly scuppered plans to face former unified world champion Anthony Joshua, whose emphatic stoppage victories over Robert Helenius, Otto Wallin, and former UFC heavyweight ruler Francis Ngannou have left him knocking on the door of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk once more.

Wilder fights Zhang on June 1 in Riyadh knowing a return of his destructive knockout power could throw him back among the world’s leading heavyweights.

“I’m expecting his A plus plus game, I like Zhang, I like him as a fighter and what he presents inside the ring.

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“Especially for the first half of a fight he seems like a true killer and somebody who is going to come and has nice technique and movement.

“Eventually he burns out and that might be the end of him dealing with a fighter like me, I can go. I like him, I like the fight, I love that he’s a hard hitter, I am as well and may the best man win,” Wilder told Sky Sports.

Wilder says he has adopted a new-found selfishness in a bid to redirect his career having admittedly lost his passion and love for the sport amid a taxing few years that included his epic trilogy against Fury.

Wilder looked a shade of his usual self in his last outing against Parker, with his lack of activity across a two-year absence from the ring showing as he was beaten by unanimous decision against the New Zealander.

Nonetheless, the 38-year-old remains confident of renewing an old and all-too-familiar rivalry should he overcome Zhang.

“I do believe I will face Tyson Fury for a fourth time,” he explained.

Fury is scheduled to face Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship in Saudi Arabia on May 18, and while Wilder remains admittedly ‘on the fence’ when it comes to a prediction he believes the Ukrainian would favour his fighting style.