WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has labelled Tyson Fury “funny”, Anthony Joshua a “coward”, Andy Ruiz Jr a “disappointment” and Jarrell Miller an “idiot”.
The outspoken American gave his thoughts on his rivals in a wide-ranging interview with ESPN in Los Angeles ahead of his rematch with Fury in Las Vegas on February 22.
Wilder, 34, said he has developed a genuine affinity with Fury.
“He’s a funny guy, he’s a skilful fighter, good fighter,” Wilder told ESPN. “And for me, in my opinion, he’s a breath of fresh air, being in the heavyweight division, being able to have great fights with a person that can help me promote a fight because I’ve come up and so many guys don’t talk, or they don’t want to say what they want to do, or hype the crowd.
“It’s always been me promoting. Then, when I had him come along, it was good promotion and we can cross-promote with his team, and make great fights happen. So that’s what I think about him, when I hear his name.”
Wilder was not as generous to IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
“Just a straight coward, man… I just think coward – and that’s it,” he said.
Joshua regained his unified heavyweight championship with a comprehensive 12-round points win against an overweight Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia in December.
“I was very disappointed in Andy Ruiz, maybe because I was so invested in it. I really wanted to see him really achieve greatness,” Wilder said.
“Especially where he came from in boxing, almost getting evicted from his apartment. I don’t know what eviction feels like – and I never want to know what that feels like to be homeless – but that was the verge that he was on, and an angel came and saved him. Gave him an opportunity, a GREAT opportunity to be a megastar [against Joshua].
“Ruiz beat him, knocked him out, knocked him down four times and got him out of there. He had the biggest fight of his life – he let it all go [in the rematch].”
American contender Jarrell Miller, who was slated to face Joshua last June before failing a drugs test, copped a blast from Wilder too.
“Idiot. He’s an idiot. He had a major fight [against Joshua last year]. I don’t know the amount [he was getting], I go off what I hear, let’s say $6 million. He blew it. He blew it all on ‘get rich or die trying’,” he said.
“And what I mean by that is that he put something in his system, a PED [performance-enhancing drug] that gives rats cancer.
“So if it gives rats cancer, what do you think it’s going to do to you?”
Wilder was complimentary to Joshua’s next likely opponent Kubrat Pulev.
“He’s a brave and strong fighter. I haven’t seen too much of Kubrat Pulev because he hasn’t been out there too much. The things that I have seen, he definitely put up great fights, [the fight against Wladimir] Klitschko and stuff, I think he’s strong willed, strong minded,” he said.
WBC number one contender Dillian Whyte, who was cleared of failing a drugs test last year by UK Anti-Doping after they ruled the incident was “consistent with an isolated contamination event, and they are not suggestive of doping”, was another target of Wilder’s wrath.
“Oh my God… where’s your B-sample? Where is the B-sample? Talking about drug tests, that’s another one,” he said. “Another guy that I consider to be the cheerleader of the division, I want to go even nastier with my words with him, but my energy is not allowing me to come up with nothing to say. That means something.
“But y’know, this is a guy who is just a compulsive liar, he’s talking about this thing of wanting to fight me – but it’s all lies. He had multiple chances of fighting me. Just to name a few, I told him to fight [Luis] Ortiz, not only did I tell him, I gave him my word [I will be fighting next], but the WBC mandated him to do so and he didn’t. [Dominic] Breazeale said, ‘Hey, if you got a problem with the mandatory spot, fight me for the mandatory spot and that’ll get you in there.’ That was another one and he declined every last one of those things. I can go even farther but there ain’t no sense of wasting time on him.”