Deontay Wilder has been hitting the headlines once again recently with his comeback fight set for October 15 against Robert Helenius.
The former WBC heavyweight champion has been pictured in training with fans discussing his new physique and speculating on whether he can rise again after his defeats to Tyson Fury.
However, with high-profile sports performers you get hype and a tweet has gone out with footage of the Bronze Bomber landing a punch on an ESPN mascot back in 2018.
It was widely reported at the time that Wilder had broken the mascot’s jaw and a tweet which went out today follows that narrative.
The truth behind it, though, appears to be much less sensational. Although he may not have actually broken the mascot’s jaw, the footage is still so surreal to watch.
Who on earth thought it would be a good idea to get the hardest-hitting boxer to punch a mascot?!
Ross A. Lincoln in TheWrap reported that Wilder was being interviewed on ESPN’s “Adicto al Boxeo” to talk about his forthcoming title defence against Tyson Fury. Approaching the end of the segment, Wilder, who had made it clear he was keenly anticipating the fight, was invited to express his impatience on a punching dummy. Which he did with relish.
Then, encouraged by the hosts, he was invited to take on the channel’s colourful mascot to determine the ESPN champion. This resulted in a joke sparring match where the Bronze Bomber landed a few heavy duty punches.
The show closed without incident, however, two weeks later a YouTuber showed the clip and stated that the man inside the costume had suffered a broken jaw.
Wilder was quick to apologise. He is quoted by the BBC as saying: “I sincerely apologise to the brave man that was injured [if this is true]. I have the utmost respect for him, his participation, willingness and courage.
“If this [injured mascot] is true, I personally would like to invite him to my 1 December fight.”
Other rumours included Wilder not being aware that a human was inside the costume, with the former champion dismissing this as “click-bait.”
The whole thing was clearly a joke, looking at the attitude of the hosts, who directly invited Wilder to deliver a punch. The mascot suit had a firm plastic face and thick padding. Wilder maybe did go at it a bit hard and was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying he thought “there would be more cushioning.”
What is clear is that the man inside the costume showed a great deal of courage to agree to take part.
Top class boxers can give out punches which could seriously stun those outside the sport. Even when not at full tilt!
We expect Wilder to be making more news over the next few weeks as the countdown to his comeback continues.