In a live television appearance, the WBC heavyweight champion punched a mascot and has now apologised after it was reported he had inflicted a broken jaw.
Deontay Wilder has apologised to a mascot he punched on live television that left the man with a reported broken jaw and has invited him to his fight with Tyson Fury.
The WBC heavyweight champion appeared on ESPN to promote his December 1 bout with Fury, and was asked to showcase his skills
But Wilder landed a heavy blow and knocked the mascot to the floor, with reports suggesting he suffered a broken jaw before the boxer offered an apology on social media and denied that he had not realised there was a person inside the costume.
Deontay Wilder was asked to show off his punching power by hitting a mascot...— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) 13 October 2018
He didn't realise a real human was inside the costume 🙈
Someone's jaw has been broke 😳
📹 ESPN pic.twitter.com/dc5egKGJJ5
"I sincerely apologise to the brave man that was injured (if this is true)," he wrote on his Instagram page. "I have the utmost high respect for him, his participation, willingness and courage.
"If this is true, I personally would like to invite him to my December 1 fight."
Wilder will face Tyson Fury in Los Angeles after lengthy negotiations broke down with Anthony Joshua.
A unification bout with Joshua could still subsequently be on the cards, however, after promoter Eddie Hearn revealed "significant" progress had been made.