Deontay Wilder’s young prospect Raphael Akpekjiori believes that Tyson Fury’s next opponent is in “amazing physical shape” for their trilogy fight.
Wilder has a mentoring relationship with the Nigerian heavyweight boxer. Akpekjiori could even be on hand to spar with Wilder if needed ahead of the Fury match-up.
The pair share a coach, with Wilder now undergoing speed and conditioning sessions in Miami.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Akpejiori was bullish on Wilder’s chances: “Based on what I know, the only person that can beat Deontay right now, is Deontay.
"He will beat Fury if he sticks to the game plan from his coaching staff, and I know that he has all the physical tools.
"Right now he is in amazing physical shape, that I can tell you for sure. You will see a completely different Deontay, mentally and physically in the ring, when that bell rings again for that third fight. That I can tell you."
The 29-year-old boxer was unable to shed light on speculation from Junior Fa that Widler was nursing a bicep injury before his last fight against Fury in February.
"You're going to have to wait for Deontay to break it down and address those rumours," he said.
"Listen, I can tell you from my conversations with Deontay that he was ready to fight Tyson Fury in July.
"The only reason why he didn't fight Tyson Fury in July, was because the fight was moved due to the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown that came after that.
"He does the same workouts that we've been doing. I don't know how somebody can be injured and do all that. It's really hard stuff, I can tell you that for sure."
Akpejiori credited Wilder with helping him come through the ranks since they met in 2017, and relayed the intensity with which the American is pursuing his chance at winning back his belt.
"You can really tell that's all he's thinking about, from just talking. We talk about a whole lot of other things, personal stuff, boxing promotional stuff.
"But concerning fighting Tyson Fury, he's extremely confident. He's very excited about that third fight. I can tell you for sure that he's very hungry, and he's trying to get back into the ring as soon as possible. He's in great spirits, excited to get back to fight Tyson Fury."