Deontay Wilder faces a number of obstacles while attempting to become the face of boxing in the United States, but one in particular has proven surprising: frequently being mistaken for LeBron James.
The current WBC world heavyweight champion appeared on SI Now on Wednesday to discuss a number of topics, namely his hopes of resurrecting the U.S. boxing scene. When SI’s Chris Mannix asked Wilder how boxing can get back on track in the country to having renowned champions like Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe, Wilder said he thought the sport was on the right track—though elevating boxing’s profile doesn’t come without its challenges.
“It’s very important,” Wilder said. “It’s super important to get that scene back on task again, you know? It kind of made me feel like, man, I want to feel like what that moment felt like for those guys [Tyson, Holyfield, Bowe] to walk around and be able to do that, people knowing that’s the champion. I’m always getting confused with LeBron James. Everywhere I go, I’m LeBron James.”
After defeating Eric Molina in June to move to 34–0 (33 KOs), Wilder is expected to next fight Sept. 6, possibly against undefeated British prospect Hughie Fury.