Deontay Wilder’s Boxing Style and Underrated Set Ups

Deontay Wilder Boxing style and set ups

Deontay Wilder is probably one of the most controversial personalities in the sport of boxing. With this being the case, many people do not accept or underestimate his boxing ability and just label him a “big puncher” or “brawler”. This couldn’t be further from the truth as the Bronze Bomber does in fact have a few tricks up his sleeve to catch the opponent off guard. 

In this boxing style analysis, I take a closer look at Wilder’s fighting style, and how he uses intelligent setups to knockout his opponents. I’ll also give you a brief background and his achievements to date.

Who is Deontay Wilder? 

Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Wilder didn’t find boxing till a later age, taking up the sport at 20 years. Under trainer Jay Deas, he would quickly get into the amteur system with some huge upsets against previous up and coming favourites. 

Wilder would quickly go on to win the prestigious Golden Gloves and the U.S. National Championships. These performances would then help Wilder to win at the Olympic Trials to represent his country in Beijing in 2008. He would then go on to win Bronze at heavyweight and finish his amateur career with a record of around 30-5.

Shortly after the Olympics, Wilder started his professional career, coining himself “The Bronze Bombe”’ after coming third in the Olympics. It was also in homage after fellow Alabama heavyweight legend Joe Louis who had the similar name of “The Brown Bomber”. Wilder would then start his impressive rise to the top with countless knockouts over fairly unknown opponents. 

After 5-6 years of working his way up the ranks, Wilder finally got his shot against Bermane Stiverne for the WBC heavyweight title which he won by unanimous decision. From here The Bronze Bomber would defend his world title 10 times, tying with Muhammad Ali’s ten consecutive defences. 

In this time, Wilder has had some notable victories and knockouts against the likes of Stiverne, Breazeale and Luis Oritz twice. However, it is his most recent contest with Tyson Fury that has seen the biggest spotlight, as he has come up against someone with superior boxing ability. 

Despite his last two fights with Fury not ending the way he would have liked and losing his WBC title. Wilder is still a very dangerous opponent for any heavyweight he faces due to devastating knockout power.

Wilder’s Achievements 

Professional 

WBC World Heavyweight title 

Amatuer 

2007 – Golden Gloves 

2007 – U.S. National Championships

2008 – Bronze at Beijing Olympics – heavyweight

Deontay Wilder’s Boxing Style 

Deontay Wilder Boxing style is often misunderstood as brawler due to his impressive KO records. Wilder does use elements of an intelligent sharp shooting boxer-puncher style. Nevertheless due to his over-reliance on his power his lack of technical ability would have slugger boxing style.

Despite this, Wilder still uses intelligent techniques to help him catch his opposition off guard and quite often ending up knocked out. 

Below I’ll look at these aspects of his style in more detail.

Using the lead hand

Wilder usually catches his opponents off guard with a jab or left hook, he uses this to distract or keep his opponent occupied. This is mainly so he can set up his power punches for the most part, but he also uses it in other ways. 

The most obvious is to set up a target for where he will land the right hand. He will use a stiff outward jab to block his competitors vision, while he follows up with a right cross. See example of this in his KO of Ortiz below:

Deontay will also use this to create distance between him and his opponent. This is to either once again help to set him up his power punches through distance or defensively keep his foe away from him. 

Finally, he will also use subtle feints, to keep his competitor on edge and guessing before releasing a shot!

Breaking the guard

Probably one of the most underrated qualities Wilder uses is breaking through his opponents guard. He does this by simply pulling away the guard of his challenger guard, so he can set up his devastating right hand cross. 

This is a move even the likes of Lomachenko likes to use as well. However “The Bronze Bomber” will use it in a very different way. He will instead try to time the pull down while he is in the middle of throwing his right hand cross. By doing this, it leaves no time for his opposition to adapt in most cases, leaving them on the canvas. 

See below how Deontay Wilder extends his jab then strips Kelvin Price’s guard to land his KO right

Power over everything 

It’s obvious when we watch Wilder, that he prioritises his power over everything. Particularly for his right hand cross. 

For this reason, Wilder puts his full body into his punches which can result in a lack of correct technique or structure in the body. Nevertheless, as much as you can say this looks bad or is wrong. The energy he creates when throwing these punches are devastating. Especially by him following through the punches with his footwork, he is able to generate that power. 

Look at the footwork against Dominic Breazeale below where he uses the anatomical use of his whole body. From the feet to the end of the punch. This is what helps generate that “god like power”, that so many competitors are weary of him. 

Yes in some cases he doesn’t doesn’t connect these punches and loses balance and can look clumsy. However, his opponent still would rather not be the end of those ‘clumsy misses.’

via Gfycat

Defence

Defence is an area Wilder is very underrated for in my opinion. If you look back at a lot of Wilder fights, he does in fact not take much damage at all. 

He does look very awkward defensively at times, but for the most part he is very effective in what he does. As mentioned before, Wilder will continuously paw out jab to create distance and a distraction against his competitors. He will also continuously circle and move around the ring, mostly on the back foot making it very difficult to get to him. 

This also makes his opponents cautious as they know Wilder has tremendous power. So for the most part they are not as committed to getting so close. This in turn works in favour for Wilder to set up counter shots that catch them by surprise. See him below utilising the jab and using footwork against Ortiz below:

Final thoughts

Deonatay Wilder is definitely not the best technical fighter in the world and is in fact very awkward to watch. 

Because of this lack of fundamental technical skills that fellow heavyweights Joshua, Fury and Usyk have. Wilder instead focuses on some key techniques such as breaking the guard and using the jab to set up his power punches to win fights. 

It’s sometimes not the prettiest thing to watch, but you can’t deny that he is just an aimless brawler who steps in the ring each time. 

It will also been very interesting to also see Wilder under his new trainer Malik Scott, where he has been practising some new techniques. I’m really intrigued to see if he adds anything else to arsenal for his trilogy fight with Fury. Check out my training highlights further below for this.


Hope you enjoyed this boxing style review! Make sure to let me know if there are any more boxing styles you would like me to feature in the comments below.

Check out my other boxer style analysis features here or why not check out my analysis on his fellow heavyweight competitors Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua or Usyk 

Jamie - Boxing Life

I'm an amateur boxer and blogger trying to pass on my boxing experiences and passion to anyone looking to learn or find out more about the sport of boxing. Whether that be reviews, news, training tips or my own personal journey, I'll be covering it on "Boxing Life".

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