Deontay Wilder says boxing is not a sport, and that boxers risk their lives for the audience’s entertainment.
Wilder made this statement after his victory over Robert Helenius on Saturday, knocking out his former sparring partner in just under one round.
“I always have concern for all fighters,” Wilder said. “I’m a big advocate for fighters because like I always say, we get done wrong.
“A sport is something you play. You don’t play this. We risk our lives for you guys’ entertainment and I speak that forever.
“When you have a relationship with a man, when you love a man, and you build a friendship with another man, although he’s thousands of miles away from where I am, when you see things like that, you want to come to their aid. I wanted to come to his aid but they wouldn’t let me and I understood, because he needed space.
“But my heart goes out to him and I hope he’s doing OK and he can be able to go back to his family, because this is a tough business that we’re in.
“This is why I tell people, you’ve got to respect all fighters. People always go about worrying about records and all this, ‘He lost, he’s a bum,’ and all that. You get your bum ass in there then and let’s see who’s the bum, really. Because you don’t play this. You can’t play this.
“We demand respect at all times, every fighter that steps in the ring. I don’t care what the record is, I don’t care who they are or where they come from, it demands respect, because if not, then you see things like that happen.
“And then, ‘Oh, it’s a great knockout,’ Yeah, it’s a great knockout, it’s devastating, making history and stuff like that, but how much is that man going to suffer? He may be alright right now, a little bit, but what about the next day? What about two weeks from now? What about a month from now? Maybe years from now.”