Heavyweight champ Wilder apologises after decking TV mascot

Deontay Wilder is the reigning World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion. (AFP pic)

LOS ANGELES: Heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder apologised on Sunday after unleashing a punch that knocked down the mascot on an ESPN programme.

Wilder, appearing on Nación ESPN to promote his December title fight against the UK’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 realise 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. He takes on former world champion Fury in Los Angeles on December 1.