Lennox Lewis sends retirement message to Deontay Wilder after Zhilei Zhang defeat

Deontay Wilder
Wilder’s career now in serious doubt (Picture: Richard Pelham/Getty Images)

Heavyweight legend Lennox Lewis has urged Deontay Wilder to retire from boxing following his heavy defeat to Zhilei Zhang.

Wilder, the former WBC heavyweight champion, was knocked out by the Chinese heavyweight in the main event of the Matchroom vs Queensberry show in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.

Zhang spun the American with a savage right hook n the fifth round, leaving him staggering around the ring with his back to his opponent. Moments later, Zhang swooped in with another shot to send ‘The Bronze Bomber’ crashing to the mat. Wilder just about made the referee’s count but was out on his feet as the referee waved the fight off.

It is Wilder’s second defeat to six months having been outclassed by Joseph Parker in December. Having also been knocked out twice by Tyson Fury as part of their trilogy epic, the 38-year-old has now lost four of his last fight fights.

Defeat to Zhang is likely to have ended any lingering hopes of a long-awaited showdown between Wilder and Anthony Joshua, with the former’s stock dramatically falling again after Saturday night.

Former undisputed champion Lewis has now advised Wilder to get out the of the sport while he still can, insisting ‘there are more important things than boxing’.

‘The Bronze Bomber told us before the fight that he would retire he didn’t win. I think that is a wise decision,’ Lewis wrote on X.

Deontay Wilder
Zhang scored a destructive KO win (Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing/Getty Images)

‘He has more than carved out a life in which he can take care of his daughter, so before he suffers any more damage, it is best to leave the game with your faculties intact because there’s a LOT more life to live after boxing.’

Joshua meanwhile watched on from ringside as his old rival suffered another defeat – the same night Daniel Dubois beat Filip Hrgovic to possibly set up a fight between the two Britons at Wembley in September.

But the two-time world champion has urged Wilder not to rush into any decisions over his future.

‘It’s completely up to him, I can’t say,’ Joshua told DAZN when asked if Wilder should retire.

‘I just look at and say, ‘if you want to do it, do it’, it’s not a big deal boxing, if you want to fight, fight on, and if you don’t want to do it, don’t do it any more, it’s just where your heart’s at.

‘He went in there against a good fighter in Zhilei, he’s an Olympian, Zhilei, people forget that, he’s come through, he’s got a great style, I fought him before in the Olympics and he’s still doing what he does now, so many years on. He was in with a real good, seasoned professional with a great pedigree.

‘It doesn’t matter, come again if you want, and if you don’t, you’ve got your family there, there’s another life outside of boxing for him.’

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