Deontay Wilder’s preparations for Tyson Fury were disrupted by injury, says sparring partner Junior Fa

Deontay Wilder’s rematch plan for Tyson Fury was derailed in the closing weeks of his training camp as he sustained a bicep injury, confirmed sparring partner Junior Fa.

The American heavyweight’s reign as WBC heavyweight champion was brought to a dramatic end in February when he was sensationally stopped by Fury in Las Vegas.

Wilder has since undergone bicep surgery and Fa, who has regularly sparred with the Alabama man, revealed that the arm injury was suffered shortly before the second fight against Fury.

The New Zealander told Sky Sports: “I was very shocked [by the Wilder defeat].

“The lead up and the training was actually really good. Deontay was looking great.

“I think he did hurt himself towards the end of camp, which I don’t think would have played too much into the fight, but then I don’t really know the extent of the damage of the injury that he sustained.

“What I do know [is] that he did get injured, but I was very surprised by Fury’s game plan. As soon as the fight started, and I saw Fury not really taking a backward step, trying to push Wilder to the ropes, I was thinking ‘Oh man, this is going to be a hard night for Wilder.’

1st week done with the champ @bronzebomber and taking in as much knowledge as I can from the team ☝🏾 #teamfa #bombzquad #heavyweight #boxing

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Yes, the bicep injury. I don’t know the extent of the damage, but he did hurt it, yeah.

Junior Fa

“Fury just basically did what he said he was going to do, which was stop the biggest puncher in the world. That was a very, very good performance from him.”

Asked about Wilder’s specific fitness issue, Fa said: “Yes, the bicep injury. I don’t know the extent of the damage, but he did hurt it, yeah.”

Wilder initially suggested that his ring walk costume, weighing 40lbs, had weakened him before the first bell, but has since hinted at further problems in the build-up.

“There’s a lot of things that I don’t even want to talk about at this moment in time,” he told the PBC podcast.

“I’m still reflecting on certain things and I can’t believe the things that happened to me and they happened to me at that point in time in my career.

“Maybe I’ll come out with some things later on as things unfold when I get into camp but I don’t want to talk about it at the moment in time. I’m still reflecting on it and figuring some things out.”

Fa had also sparred Anthony Joshua on a number of occasions during their amateur careers and the Kiwi was later invited to train with him at the Team GB headquarters, alongside Joe Joyce and Frazer Clarke.

Throw back to 2011 with @anthony_joshua 💪🏾 📸 Photo credit @lomalitomoala #boxing #throwbackthursday #2011worldchamps #worldclass #heavyweights #boxers #fighters #champ #contender

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“I sparred AJ before we knew how good he was, so back in 2011 just after the Commonwealth Games,” said Fa, who had returned from the tournament in India with a bronze medal.

“I was very surprised at how good he was. On that year he got the silver medal at the World Amateur Championships and then he went on to win the gold medal.

“I’d done some work with him before and just after the Olympics as well, because I came over [was drafted into the squad] for the World Series of Boxing with the Lionhearts.

“Good timing, good power. Very, very good power. He’s very, very focused and very dedicated to the sport.”

Joshua and Wilder have both compiled a daunting collection of destructive victories, but Fa believes the ‘Bronze Bomber’ hits even harder than the British star.


“From what I can remember, from AJ in terms of comparing power, I would say definitely Deontay Wilder is the biggest puncher,” said Fa ahead of an expected fight against Joseph Parker.

“It’s just a different type of power. I can’t really explain it. I know AJ has got serious heavy hands and they’ve got a bit of a snap to it too, but Wilder, I don’t know man, he’s just got a punch that dazes you straight away.

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