has confirmed he will retire in the not-too-distant future. The American heavyweight has affirmed that he will hang up his gloves at 40 years old regardless of whether he has secured his blockbuster showdown with or not.

The pair have been linked to a fight ever since they became world champions in 2015 and 2016. Now, with both men beltless, a fight looks more likely than ever despite not coming to fruition for six years.

But they won’t have six more to negotiate terms as Wilder – who turns 37 next month – has confirmed that he intends to step away from the ring in three years’ time.

Speaking to FOX during the broadcast of Andy Ruiz Jr vs Luis Ortiz, he said: “I can tell you now by the end of [age] 40 I will be retired. I’ve got three years left.”

A fight between Wilder and Ruiz Jr can be easily made and may once again put the AJ clash on hold. Both men are signed onto promotional outfit Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) who are notorious for booking in-house fights. With no purse bid or broadcasting battle, the contest is a more sensible option for Wilder but will likely shave another year off the Joshua deadline if scheduled.  

Talking about the potential contest on the same broadcast, Wilder said: “Deontay Wilder is back. We’re always looking for great exciting fights we love to give the fans. So, if that’s what is lined up next [Ruiz Jr], I’ve got to handle business and after that, we can get it on.”

Wilder added: “It was a great fight; it was a hell of a fight. This is what all the fans came to see. That right there deserves all the respect. I always have love for Ortiz because we shared the ring and what we’re doing for our daughters. I always have love for him. He came with a game plan, and it seemed like he executed the game plan. Much love to him. We wish nothing best for him moving forward.”