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Opetaia: Wilder Needs to Unleash His 'Bomb Squad' Power to Beat Zhang

Jai Opetaia, who is the IBF cruiserweight champion, says Deontay Wilder needs to throw his bombs to defeat Zhilei Zhang this Saturday night in Riyadh.

Opetaia feels that former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) needs to return to the way he fought when he unleashed his powerful right hand to score.

Wilder's Deviation From His Knockout Power

Wilder has deviated from that style since his second loss against Tyson Fury in 2021, and his emphasis on boxing has not worked. Some fans feel that Wilder should have ditched his trainer, Malik Scott, after his most recent loss to Joseph Parker last December, but he stuck with him until the bitter end, which could come on Saturday.

Wilder, 38, has repeatedly said that he may retire if he loses to Zhang (26-2-1, 21 KOs), and many fans feel that he will not last long against the powerful 'Big Bang' in this fight.

The difference between the old heavyweights is that Zhang is not afraid to throw his power punches. What Zhang, 40, is up against is his tenacity. He takes a breather early in his fights, usually in the sixth round. That led to Zhang losing a decision to Joseph Parker last March and Filip Hrgovic in 2022.

Opetaia's advice for Wilder

“Yeah, I'm not sure. He needs to get back to that,” said IBF cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia on Secondsout about Deontay Wilder needing to relax his hands in his Saturday night fight against Zhilei Zhang.

It would be dangerous for Wilder to throw his power right against Zhang because the two-time Olympian is an excellent counterpuncher and southpaw. Wilder hasn't fought many southpaws in his 16-year career.

“He is in possession of dangerous power, he must use it. He has to throw those bombs,” Opetaia continued about Deontay. “His boxing skills aren't very good, to be honest, but he's got that big, disruptive power. And that will be a good fight.”

Wilder has no choice but to face Zhang because he can't box well enough to win a decision, and it would be dangerous for him to play it safe, as he did in his loss against Parker last December.

Even when the fight was nervous, Parker hit Wilder hard, but the New Zealander was powerless to stop him. Zhang has the kind of one-punch power to KO Wilder with one shot, and that's one of the reasons his opponents have him as the favorite.

“Even Zhang, he is not a bad fighter, and it is amazing to see him [Joseph] Parker beat them both. I'm a big fan of Parker,” said Opetaia.

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