Heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder apologised on Sunday after unleashing a punch that knocked down the mascot on an ESPN programme.
Wilder, appearing on ESPN Nacion to promote his December title fight against Britain’s Tyson Fury, was asked to demonstrate his punching power by striking the mascot — a man inside a burrito-themed foam costume.
The blow knocked the sombrero-wearing mascot to the ground, although ESPN said reports the man inside the costume suffered a broken jaw were incorrect.
“I sincerely apologize to the brave man that was injured (if this is true),” Wilder wrote on Instagram. “I have the up most high respect for him, his participation, willingness and courage.
“If this is true @nacionespn I personally would like to invite him to my Dec.1 fight.”
Wilder also refuted reports that he didn’t realize there was a person inside the costume.
“Anything headlining I didn’t know a human being was in there is just straight click-baiting,” said Wilder on Instagram.
Wilder, the World Boxing Organization champion, is unbeaten in 40 bouts ahead of his fight with former world champion Fury in Los Angeles on December 1.
The winner of the fight will be in line for a mouth-watering clash against Nigerian-born British heavyweight king Anthony Joshua in 2019.