Deontay Wilder says an elaborate outfit he wore on his ring walk wore him down so much that he didn't have the legs to withstand Tyson Fury in their heavyweight title fight Saturday night.
Wilder also said he would execute a clause in his contract for a third fight with Fury, hopefully sometime this summer.
"This summer with no fights in between," Wilder told The Associated Press in a phone interview Monday. "I'm a warrior and I'm ready to go again, but we're going to change a lot of things in camp."
Wilder said the outfit — which he said was a tribute to Black History Month — weighed him down and that his legs weren't right by the time the fight started. Wilder said the entire getup, including a mask, weighed some 40 pounds, and he knew by the end of the second round that his legs were gone.
Wilder also said his assistant trainer, Mark Breland, was acting against previously agreed-upon instructions when he threw in the towel to end the fight at 1:39 of the seventh round and would not likely be in the corner in a third fight.
"We had many discussions for years about this situation and for him to still do it after Jay (Deas, Wilder's main trainer) told him not to do it really hurt me. And then I heard he was influenced by another fighter in the audience and it makes a lot of conspiracy theories in your head why he did it. It didn't make sense."
The former heavyweight champion was knocked down twice by Fury in the fight before his corner threw in the towel in the seventh round. It was his first loss in 44 fights and came after 10 successful title defenses.
U.S. & World
News from around the country and around the globe
Wilder, who has always worn elaborate outfits into the ring, said he tried on the one he used in the fight the night before in his hotel room to make sure he could get it on and off. He said it was weighed down by sequins and ornamentation and also included batteries for his mask to light up when he got in the ring.
"Going up the stairs (into the ring) I knew immediately it was a different change in my body condition," he said. "After the second round I had no legs, period."
Wilder said he is taking a previously scheduled trip to Africa, but plans to resume training once he gets back. He has 30 days to officially accept the third fight, which would be a 60-40 purse split in Fury's favor.
Fury and Wilder combined to sell the biggest live gate ($16.9 million) in Nevada heavyweight fight history and, though the results have not been announced, the fight was expected to have performed well on pay-per-view. Both fighters were expected to make $30 million or more when the receipts are all added up.
Wilder said he has gotten an outpouring of love from people in the wake of his loss, the first in his 12-year professional career. He said the worst thing about the fight was that he wasn't allowed to keep fighting past the seventh round, when he was taking a lot of punches to the head without throwing many back.
"I’m going out on my shield. I’m a warrior," Wilder said. "If I say I'm willing to kill a man in the ring then I’m willing to abide by that same principle as a warrior to die in the ring."