Deontay Wilder single-handedly bringing heavyweight boxing back?
After a resounding and devastating first-round knockout of overmatched challenger
Bermane Stiverne to extend his perfect record to 39-0 with 38 knockouts, this is a question
people are actually asking. Nevermind that Stiverne, his mandatory challenger from whom
he took the title by lopsided decision in January 2015, was a replacement for the more formidable Luis Ortiz (disqualified after failing drug test). Wilder indeed passed the eye test.
Obviously, Wilder was not happy. As a fierce competitor, he wanted to fight the best there is to offer. He made it painfully clear that Stiverne was just out of his league.
What boxing needs is a superstar. Someone who brings excitement to the casual fan. Wilder is slowly becoming that guy as fans at the Barclays Center in New York roared in approval of the carnage that was left in the ring.
With three knockdowns in the first round, Wilder showed a lot of the athleticism and power that very few fighters have shown currently in the division. His usage of the jab, which snaps as if he’s a welterweight, was his primary mode of offense in the first two minutes of the round until he connected with a huge right that dropped Stiverne.
Stiverne never recovered.
Wilder now has his sights on one goal: unification of the title. There is one fight that Wilder and fight fans alike want—a unification showdown with undefeated British fan favorite Anthony Joshua. Joshua is undefeated himself at 20-0 with a 100 percent knockout percentage and 20 KO’s under his two belts.
Wilder made his intentions known in the post-match interview: “I’ve been waiting on that fight for a long time now (speaking of Joshua)… I declare war upon you. Do you accept my challenge?… I’ve been waiting for a long time. I know I’m the champion, I know I’m the best. Are you up for the test?”
Hopefully the boxing gods (a.k.a. the promoters) can make this one happen early in 2018.
In the undercard of Wilder’s fight, former welterweight champion Shawn Porter pummeled Adrian Granados for most of 12 rounds in a grind-em-out victory. In winning, Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) maintained his position as a mandatory challenger for unified world titleholder Keith Thurman.
Porter lost a close decision –115-113 on all three scorecards — while challenging Thurman in one of the best fights of 2016. But when he was denied an immediate rematch, Porter knocked out former two-time titleholder Andre Berto in the ninth round on April 22 in a final elimination fight to earn a mandatory rematch with Thurman.