Deontay Wilder has finally opened up about the 2014 clip of him beating up an internet troll at a California gym for his racist comments and his daughter’s online abuse, and has admitted he planned to “shoot” him.
The 36-year-old former heavyweight champion flew to Los Angeles in 2014 to watch a fight. He also fell out with Charlie Zelenoff in the process, after receiving multiple offensive comments on social media that also mentioned his daughter Naieya, who suffers from a condition called spina bifida.
The pair were then caught in a viral video fighting, which shows the Bronze Bomber stealing the sting from the internet troll. Eight years later, Wilder confessed that he would have shot Zelenoff had neither his cameraman nor his cousin been with him at the gym at the time.
“I really went there to kill him, to shoot him, to be honest,” the 2015-2020 WBC heavyweight titleholder told the Pivot Podcast on Tuesday. “And the devil got into me at some point because we were in some alleys and my voice changed because he was with me, I brought him with me too.”
Prior to the fight, Zelenoff had signed a waiver stating that he could not sue Wilder for damages or personal injury.
“Eventually my whole behavior about myself changed, I said, ‘Come down this alley,'” Wilder continued. “I knew what I was going to do, even because I’m going to tell you. My whole demeanor, my face changed because I knew what my abilities were.
“But I knew I couldn’t do it because my cameraman was one of my good friends and I had a vision of him ratting on us and I should have shot him too,” he added.
Wilder, who grew up wanting to play college football for Alabama’s Crimson Tide, then admitted to telling his lens man, “I couldn’t do it because I would have had to shoot you too.” Because I saw you betray us.”
‘And he started, ‘Oh no, D.’ And I said, ‘No, seriously. I should have shot you too.”
Mike Tyson was impressed after seeing footage of the fight and claimed he would be in jail “for that shit” in one clip youtube.
In a 2014 interview with RingTV, Wilder said that “the only reason” he went above and beyond to beat Zelenoff was because “he went overboard.”
“He threatened to kill me and he called me the N-word. What then overdid it is that he said he was going to put duct tape over my daughter’s mouth, and reading that made me imagine that actually happening.
“There’s a part of Deontay Wilder that’s the dumb guy, the humble guy, and the funny guy with a nice smile. But there’s another part of me that I really don’t want people to see. That’s the part that’s going to come and get you,” the six-foot-tall, 238-pound boxer advised.
“But I really held back because my original plans were to really hurt this guy, man. Some people don’t really know that side of me, but I brought it out and I don’t like showing that for people to see,” he reiterated.
By the time, Zelenoff had found internet fame after sharing videos of himself molesting strangers in gyms before challenging them to a fight. He once confronted Floyd Mayweather’s father to fight him.
“I really wanted to do more than what I’ve been doing, but I’ve gotten to a point where I have opportunities and I’m blessed, man. I’m aware of that,” Wilder concluded of the eight-year altercation.
The Bronze Bomber is set to return to the ring for the first time in over a year on Saturday night by fighting Swedish-Finnish boxer Robert Helenius.