Deontay Wilder’s coach reveals American’s reaction to Anthony Joshua knockout

Deontay Wilder’s coach Malik Scott has said his fighter was happy to see Anthony Joshua knock out Robert Helenius, as a fight between “AJ” and the American looms.

Joshua put in a patient performance on Saturday before knocking out Helenius in the seventh round at London’s O2 Arena. In beating the Finn, who replaced Dillian Whyte on a week’s notice, Joshua moved a step closer to a potential clash with Wilder.

Scott revealed Wilder’s reaction to the finish while speaking to October Red on YouTube, saying: “He was like, ‘Yeah, we needed that.’

“We both said the same thing, because at first it looked like it was gonna go the distance, so when the knockout came, I called him on FaceTime. He was like, ‘Phew, I’m glad he got that. We needed it done just like that.’

“We were both satisfied. The fight is bigger than it was, because of the knockout. Shoutout to AJ for getting the job done.”

Joshua, 33, was booed by the O2 crowd at times before he produced a brutal knockout of Helenius, 39, and Scott suggested that the Briton’s performance was a mixed one.

“The story is that AJ... ‘He was being patient. He wasn’t trying to go for the knockout.’ That’s the sales pitch, but I really look at it like he wasn’t taking chances early on,” Scott said. “And that’s like a good thing, especially when your next fight is possibly Deontay Wilder, who’s the hardest puncher in the history of the sport. It’s good for you to practise not just fighting off your front foot, it’s good for you to say, ‘I need to take my time.’

“It was cute, and then tragedy happened in the eighth round. Was I really impressed besides the knockout? No. Did it give me any type of feeling that we got some trouble coming in January? No. It actually made me more confident, and I know that he only has three or four rounds in the ring with Deontay Wilder before he gets knocked out.

Joshua knocked Helenius out cold in the seventh round (Action Images via Reuters)
Joshua knocked Helenius out cold in the seventh round (Action Images via Reuters)

“Deontay is a very dangerous fighter right now, and I just feel as though it won’t take long for him to catch up with AJ. AJ wants to overthink and sit back and play that game, and we’re not gonna allow that. We’re not coming to make no silent agreements.

“Deontay’s coming to send him to the next dimension, and that’s his intention. When he’s not punching at you, he’s punching through you.”

Scott also compared Joshua’s win against Helenius to Wilder’s first-round victory over the Finn last October. “If you noticed tonight, AJ’s eye was lumped up, he was bleeding; when we fought Helenius, our eye wasn’t lumped up, we wasn’t bleeding,” Scott said.

“The difference is the violent aspect; Deontay is way more violent with his hips and bad-intention punches than AJ will ever be. AJ is good at multiple punches. Tonight was actually the first time I’ve seen him knock someone out cold, ever.”

Wilder has not fought since knocking out Helenius last year, while Joshua’s win over the Finn was his second victory in four months, following his points win against Jermaine Franklin in April.

Click here to subscribe to The Independent’s Sport YouTube channel for all the latest sports videos.