Wilder slated to fight unbeaten Anderson in L.A.

Boxing

A clash between former heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and undefeated contender Jared Anderson is being planned for Aug. 3 in Los Angeles, Turki Alalshikh, the chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, announced Monday evening on social media.

Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) will first face China’s Zhilei Zhang on June 1 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The 39-year-old from Alabama is coming off a lopsided decision defeat to Joseph Parker in December in Riyadh. It was a major upset that cost Wilder a March fight with Anthony Joshua. Wilder is a +190 underdog against Zhang, per ESPN BET.

Alalshikh said Wilder will be Anderson’s opponent “if he’s ready by then to fight.” If Wilder doesn’t perform well, Anderson could face a different foe on the stacked Terence Crawford-Israil Madrimov undercard, Saudi Arabia’s first boxing event outside the Kingdom.

“I always believe that boxing would be at its peak when you have young American heavyweights like Jared Anderson, which I also believe in his talent and his promising future,” Alalshikh wrote on X. “My advice to him, ‘focus on your future, training, and commitment and you will reach your goals.'”

Anderson (17-0, 16 KOs) was arrested in February after police said he led them on a 6-plus-mile car chase with speeds exceeding 130 mph. The 24-year-old was charged with a third-degree felony of fleeing a police officer.

In December, Anderson pleaded no contest to improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle while an OVI charge was dropped in connection with a November 2023 arrest in Ohio. Anderson was fined $200 and handed a 180-day suspended sentence contingent on him not committing a similar offense within one year.

He returned to the ring earlier this month with a wide decision win over Ryad Merhy. Anderson has headlined on ESPN in three consecutive fights and is widely considered America’s top heavyweight champion hopeful. So far, he hasn’t faced a fellow contender and is now poised for a major step up in class against Wilder, ESPN’s No. 7 heavyweight.

Wilder, an Olympic bronze medalist, is one of the most dangerous punchers in the storied history of the heavyweight division. He floored heavyweight champion Tyson Fury four times during their epic trilogy, going 0-2-1.

But Wilder has been inactive with just two bouts since he suffered an 11th-round knockout loss to Fury in ESPN’s 2021 Fight of the Year and KO of the Year. Wilder’s performance vs. Parker was lackluster, and he desperately needs a victory over Zhang to maintain his standing as one of the world’s best heavyweights. Zhang, too, is coming off a loss to Parker.

The undercard is one of the most stacked in recent memory. Tim Tszyu meets Vergil Ortiz in a junior middleweight bout, while Isaac Cruz defends his WBA junior welterweight title vs. Jose Valenzuela. Former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz returns on the undercard vs. Jarrell Miller as well.

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