Wilder wants unification fight

Deontay Wilder is already plotting a heavyweight unification showdown ahead of his WBC title defence against Gerald Washington later this month.

Wilder, who boasts an impressive record of 37 wins with 36 inside the distance, tackles Washington in Birmingham, Alabama live on Sky Sports on February 25.

The knockout specialist does not believe late replacement Washington is ready for his world title shot and has set his sights on WBO champion Joseph Parker.

Parker is due to make the first defence of his title against mandatory challenger Hughie Fury in April.

"I want Joseph Parker," Wilder told Ring TV. "This is how I want things to go and this is what my team has in mind as well – 2017 is all about unifications.

"I'm not looking past Gerald Washington. But I look through it. I'm window shopping. After Gerald Washington, we're going after the winner of Hughie Fury and Joseph Parker, which I'm predicting Joseph Parker to win. So, I'm going after Joseph Parker for the WBO title."

Washington (18-0-1-KO12), who turned pro only four years ago at age of 30 after just 14 amateur fights, was drafted in at short notice after Poland's Andrzej Wawrzyk failed a doping test.

"Gerald Washington is a big guy I've seen fight a few times," added Wilder. "I don't think he's ready to fight me, but he thinks he is. We'll find out on February 25.

"I chose him because he's always been respectful while always wanting the opportunity. He's going to come ready to fight.

"My preparation stays the same, even with the opponent change. I've been in situations where I've had to change a lot after an opponent dropped out, but Gerald being as good as he is and similar to Wawrzyk makes it easier. They have different styles but we'll work on how to break him down."

Wilder returns to the ring after breaking his right hand and tearing a bicep during his eight-round win over Chris Arreola in July

"I definitely feel 100 per cent, but we'll see what it's going to feel like in the ring when I apply this force to a human skull. When I'm in the gym doing work, I feel great," Wilder said.

"I never really let my hand properly heal until this injury, because the bicep takes longer to heal than the hand. The time gave me an opportunity to really improve my left hand. I feel more polished now than I've ever been.

"You have to have patience in this sport. The big fights that people want to see will be coming. I'm not scared of anyone and I won't run for anyone. My team is on the same page and we're going to keep working together and moving forward.

"It's all about adjusting. Each and every time I go through something inside or outside of the ring, it just makes me better and better.

"Chris Arreola's style was perfect for mine. Even with the injuries that I was suffering, I could still get the job done. I also had to fight through the injuries with (Bermane) Stiverne, because I hurt my hand in the third round of that fight. Being able to have these experiences has made my confidence even higher."